‘Clémentine’ is to ‘Woodlands Brook Vineyard’ what ‘Margaret’ is to the ‘Woodlands Estate Vineyard’ – a premium Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant blend. 2015 was the first vintage, named after Andrew and Marie’s daughter, who was born that same year. The Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot were already planted when the Watson’s purchased the vineyard in 2008. Close-planted, spur-pruned, and in need of a little TLC, the wines produced initially were tannic. Over the years the vines have been converted to cane pruning, which softens the tannins and creates a more balanced canopy and fruit set. A block of Cabernet Sauvignon was in a gravelly meadow of the vineyard in 2009, and these vines were brought up cane pruned and unirrigated. It took them longer to produce, but the fruit that arrived was fantastic – powerful, dark and perfumed – and is the soul of this brilliant blend.
This grapes were hand-harvested and sorted by a state-of-the-art gravity fed system. Once sorted, the fruit was delivered to the destemmer by a vibrating hopper. Once gently destemmed, the fruit passed through a set of rollers to remove leaves and stalks, then sorted a second time by hand on the sorting table. The fruit was partially inculcated and partially fermented with ambient yeast in stainless-steel tanks. After between 10-14 days of fermentation and extended aging on the skins, the wine was pressed though the Cabernet Sauvignon remained on the skins for an addition two weeks for added complexity and tannin integration. The wine was pressed directly to French barriques, of which roughly half were second use and the other half were third use, and aged by variety. The wine was racked and sulfured the following summer and then sent back to barrel. After a total of 16 months of aging the blends were made and the wine was assembled, then racked back to tank to settle naturally. It was bottled without fining or filtration and just another small addition of sulfur.