Tenor Cabernet Sauvignon

Tenor Cabernet Sauvignon

When texture leads, balance follows

This is a classic cab: ripe, fruit forward and opulent. But it’s also balanced. We wanted create a wine that exemplified the boldness of Cabernet Sauvignon but also embraced its inherent texture and richness... a hugely concentrated wine that doesn’t rely solely on peel-your-teeth tannin for its structure. To achieve that, we really focus on maintaining tension throughout the winemaking process, continually topping and re-racking to keep as much youthful fruit as possible.

Tenor Cabernet is thick and rich and unapologetically showy. That heavy mouthfeel is supported by superfine tannin, and we work hard to achieve that intense texture without letting the tannin overwhelm the other notes. As a result, the wine maintains it fruit integrity and freshness it ages, which really allows the complexity of flavors—currants, cassis, spice and plums—to show through.

This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon proves that you can have big, bright, new world wines that are still perfectly balanced and composed. Tenor Cabernet is terrifically rich and fruit forward, but still incredibly supple and pleasurable to drink. On release, the wine presents with abundant ripe fruit, spice and freshness, characteristics that will continue to deepen through its prime (3-9 years), and beyond that, secondary characteristics of sage, plum skin and scorched earth will come forward.

Vineyards

As with all Tenor wines, we are meticulous about site, soil and exposure, selecting lots that naturally want to produce the profiles we’re looking for. Because our Cabernet Sauvignon has a very specific profile—rich texture with balanced tannin—we are especially selective in our sourcing choices. On Red Mountain, we source from middle-of-the-hill lots, where the growing season is long but isolated from the high summer temps of the lower vineyards and the cooling of the upper ones. On the Royal Slope, we source from higher elevation lots to achieve greater concentration and a stronger aromatic push.

  • Stillwater Creek Vineyards

    Stillwater Creek Vineyards

    Stillwater Creek is a 235 acre site on the Royal Slope of the Frenchman Hills, planted in 2000. The proprietors bring over 30 years of grape growing experience in both California and Washington. Their fruit contributes dark, dense flavors and lots of fine tannin.

  • Hedges Estate Vineyards

    Hedges Estate Vineyards

    The Hedges Family has long been an icon and a champion of the Red Mountain Viticultural Area in WA. The fruit we source from them is everything you want in WA Cab: rich, ripe flavors and loads of verve and volume.

  • Canyons Vineyards

    Canyons Vineyards

    This producer grows exceptionally ripe, but polished fruit that contributes to the freshness and balance of Tenor Cabernet Sauvignon.

Winemaking, like wine drinking starts with the aromatic profile. How we manage the vineyards is especially crucial in creating the aromatic profile of the wine. In the case of the Cabernet Sauvignon, the first step is dialing in the canopy and then adjusting our fruit to match based on the vintage. Rather than minimizing tonnage for maximum concentration, we strive for a balanced yield in order to make a balanced wine. Only once the yield is optimized can we start tweaking airflow and leaf surface to accentuate elements of the aromatic profile.

Winemaking Process

  • Sorting and Selections
    01

    Sorting and Selections

    Grapes are carefully cluster sorted prior to arrival to remove any non-essential elements. Once they arrive at the winery, they are cluster sorted, destemmed and sorted again with an automated sorting system.

  • Fermentation
    02

    Fermentation

    As with many things, more time means more opportunities to make good decisions. Tenor Cabernet almost exclusively fermented in conical concrete tanks. Fermentation in concrete enhances the texture by controlling the temps throughout the process. The cooler temps mean that the fermentation process last longer (25-40 days), but is gentler, allowing us to maximize extraction and concentration. We use an exclusively native fermentation process, meaning that the wine is not inoculated with yeast or bacteria strains but instead relies on native flora to initiate both primary and malolactic fermentation.
  • Cellaring
    03

    Cellaring

    Only free run (not pressed) wine goes into Tenor barrels. The barrels themselves have been specifically designed for Tenor, with a custom forest and grain selection just for us and a proprietary toast profile we created specifically for the Tenor wines. This enables us to maintain even greater consistency year-to-year, barrel-to-barrel.
  • Blending
    04

    Blending

    All Tenor lots are aged separately, but we also evaluate each barrel separately for blending. We track the different aromatics in each barrel (through blind evaluation) so that we know, without doubt, where to find the exact notes needed to complete the final profile.
  • Bottling
    05

    Bottling

    The cabernet is bottled at 18-22 months depending on vintage. We generally bottle sooner in cooler years with more dense fruit and later in warmer years to moderate the ripeness of the vintage.

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