2017 Snakepit Red
Of the 55 acres of vineyards at Bell Mountain we have 9 distinct varietals planted including the 5 Bordeaux blender grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The lushness of our Jefferson clone Merlot compliments our cooler climate Cabernet Sauvignon in this blend.
On the northern side of our ranch, next to the organic vegetable garden, are a few blocks that grow beautiful grapes and provide a healthy habitat for rattlesnakes. While we farm this area with extreme caution, we respect how wildlife co-exists with cultivation on our working ranch. As homage to the North Pacific Rattlesnake, aka Crotalus oreganus, we named this Red Wine blend – Snakepit.
We bumped up the percentage of Cabernet in the 2017 Snakepit over previous years to add weight and power to the blend and this wine bears the hallmarks of a cool climate Cabernet from a warmer vintage. The 2017 Snakepit offers an abundance of ripe fruit aromas. Blueberry, blackberry, and cherry come gushing out of the glass, backed up by more subtle notes of cigar box, leather, and espresso. On the palate, the combination of juicy acidity, rich, soft tannins, and ripe blackberries picked off the vine on a warm day make this the ideal wine to enjoy as a nice sipper by the fire or with a delicious steak.
2017 was a year of extremes. The winter gave us twice our normal rainfall ending a five-year drought. Then summer came on with more scorchers than we care to count (16 days over 100 degrees!). Despite the challenging growing conditions, the extremes ripened the grapes in magical ways allowing us to make some of our greatest wines – bright and aromatic whites and rosé plus supple, concentrated reds. As with everything in winemaking (and with farming in general), timing was key. Knowing when to pick (and being lucky!) made all the difference.