Paso Robles AVA, San Luis Obispo County, CA
Soft upon release, with structure to age comfortably for 6 to 8 years8 Years
Wonderful with roasted rosemary pork chops or an herbed beef filet.
2010 was the coolest vintage Paso Robles has seen in a decade. With winter rainfall nearly 50% above normal, and growing degree days lagging, we had concerns this vintage may not completely ripen. This cool seasonal trend provided an ideal challenge for our progressive approach to vineyard irrigation that imposes ceasing irrigation in mid-June, just after fruitset. We monitored vine water status weekly in each block to precisely determine when soil profiles had dried out, and vines were in need of watering. Initially, we expected that a 3 to 5 week “dry-down” would be possible, but in 2010, most of our resourceful vines did not reach significant water stress until a full 2 months had passed without irrigation. This dramatic approach in our vineyards induced the vines to stop vegetative growth early in the season, and drove rapid seed maturity and tannin maturation in this cool vintage. This allowed Hilltop Cabernet to continue to live up to its reputation for being dense, soft and never green.
Our Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon is grown on a handful of select vineyard sites in the Paso Robles AVA. Blessed with long days of intense sunshine, near 100°F temperatures, and chilly, ocean-cooled nights where fifty-degree temperature swings are not uncommon, our Cabernet vines struggle to survive in the parched, often very gravelly, and sometimes lime shale-laden soils. Water is at a premium in these vineyards, enabling the viticulturist to fine-tune irrigation, producing the darkest fruit with resolved tannins year after year.