The Herdsman Cabernet Sauvignon 2020, Giguiere Estate, Dunnigan Hills, California

2020 vintage: 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec from Pheasant Farm, Gravel Pit & Gemmer Vineyards, estate grown and bottled. The Herdsman is the culmination of Matchbook’s quest to create a premium Cabernet Sauvignon from the Dunnigan Hills. The vineyards chosen for the 2020 vintage are the most gravel-heavy sites; the type of soil that produces the most intensely flavored fruit in the appellation. Aromas: cassis, saddle leather, currant and tobacco. The flavors travel from oak to fruit to spicy peppercorn. Vanilla and toast are followed by blackberry, blueberry and plum. This is a full-bodied Cabernet that is both complex and elegant. All grapes were picked separately at night, gently crushed within 30 minutes of harvest, and sent to temperature controlled stainless steel tanks for fermentation. The 3 wines were blended for aging. Half of the blend was aged in new 60 hectoliter Foudrerie Francois ovals to slowly integrate the fruit flavors with just a soft touch of oak and barrel spice; the remaining blend was aged in a series of older barrels to add weight and viscosity to the wine without the char. Extended barrel aging (17 months0 smoothed out any rough tannins and added elegance to the Herdsman. The winged sheep icon is an homage to the Giguiere family ranching tradition. The sheep farmers valued the open expanse of grasslands on gravelly soils where grazing was plentiful. Now the 6th generation is using the sheep not for wool or food, but to improve the health of the soil, the health of the vines and the quality of the grapes.