2017 was a challenging harvest in California for two main reasons, the Labor Day Weekend heat wave, and the wine country fires of early October. Lazare Vineyard made it through the heat wave no problem at all, since it was over a month away from being harvested when the heat started. However, Lazare lies right in between where the Atlas Fire and the Nuns Fire raged for the better part of two weeks. We had scheduled to pick the vineyard on Tuesday, October 10, but the Nuns Fire was getting dangerously close to Dry Creek Road, where Lazare is. The whole area was evacuated for several days, and we put off the pick until it was safe to return, on October 14. Our thanks go out to the vineyard owner, Amanda Lazare, her husband, Dave, and the entire Oak Knoll crew, who were ready to pick the Cabernet as soon as they got back in the vineyard. We're very happy to report there was no damage to Lazare or to the immediate neighbors.
The 2017 Lazare Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon shows the fruit profile of the excellent Cabs which come from this special region: bright berry fruit, licorice, and some mint to round out the nose. We aged this in neutral oak, not knowing if we'd be battling any smoke taint in the wine. So far, we haven't detected a hint of smokiness. The peak of drinkability should be between 2020 and 2032.