2020 The Herdsman Cabernet Sauvignon
The Herdsman is a blend of the heritage Cabernet clones grown in our Matchbook vineyards. This is a big Cab with an incredibly smooth finish and layers of flavors that travel from oak to fruit to spicy peppercorn.
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. The evidence is in the quintessentially-Cab aromas: lots of 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. The red berry flavors and mocha spice linger in the long, smooth finish. This is a full-bodied Cabernet that is both complex and elegant.
The primary source for the 2020 Herdsman was the Disney Silverado and Niebaum-Coppola
heritage Cabernet Sauvignon clones planted in our Pheasant Farm vineyard; the Petit Verdot and Malbec from the Gravel Pit and Gemmer vineyards. All were picked separately at night, gently crushed within 30 minutes of harvest, and sent to temperature controlled stainless steel tanks for fermentation. The three estate grown wines were then blended for aging. Roughly half the blend was aged in new 60 hectoliter Foudrerie Francois ovals to slowly integrate the inherent 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 months) smoothed out any rough tannins and added elegance to the Herdsman.
The winged sheep icon is an homage to the Giguiere family ranching tradition that launched their life of farming in the Dunnigan Hills. There is a long tradition of ranching in the Dunnigan Hills. The sheep farmers valued the open expanse of grasslands on gravelly soils where grazing was plentiful. And the Giguiere family has been tied to that tradition since 1852. Now the sixth generation is creating their own tradition, using 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.