In 2008, a portion of our Cabernet vineyard in the Sierra Foothills had a hard freeze. The overnight temperatures dropped below 20 degrees for several hours and the grapes froze on the vine. In California, this is a once every 50 years or so. The grapes desiccate which drives up the sugar concentration and flavor expression dramatically. Here was an extraordinary, maybe once-in-a-lifetime, opportunity to make a real ice wine.
Aged in a single French oak barrel for a decade, then bottled unfiltered. The finished wine still has 14% residual sugar and 19% alcohol in it but tastes less sweet than a port. In fact, it has greater fruit expression than any port I’ve ever had. It should age at least a century, but we doubt anyone will be able to resist drinking it now.