Our history, recorded back to our first vintage...
CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2004 "sandy Patch Reserve"
(Now trading at $55 / 750 ml)
At Westbrook Wine Farm we put our wines into the bottle when they are supposed to go there. For our red wines that usually means after an oak aging period of from 18 to 26 months. Thereafter, the interaction (esterification) between the natural fruit acids from the grape and alcohol introduced through fermentation form the esters which are major components of taste and "bottle bouquet". Two years in a barrel and three years in the bottle is a classic, if not arbitrary, regimen for when a well constructed red wine begins its ascendancy toward proper drinkability. The timeline, of course, depends upon the wine. Whites and lighter reds by design (or default) will have a rather rapid ascent toward an acute apex and a rapid descent thereafter. Well grown and carefully vinted wines will exhibit a slower shallow incline toward a plateau before beginning their slower decline.
It has always been our desire to release a "Reserve" wine on its fifth birthday and our 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon "Sandy Patch Reserve" from the Peterson Family Vineyard in Lodi has provided that opportunity.
Never a problem child, Sandy Patch was closed-in and strangely brooding during its two year stay in new extra fine grain American oak. With the color of squid ink and a naturally fermented alcohol of over 16% by volume, we new it was destined for special status (and carping by the alcophobic cookie-cutter wine critics).
Sandy Patch remained demure throughout the first two years in the bottle. Adolescence abruptly morphed into young adulthood in April of this year when we chanced to taste with restaurateur and sommelier, Chris Shackelford from Trelio in Clovis, CA. Chris' comments:
The biggest wine to date, bar none. Doubt anyone would argue that at 16% alcohol. Dark fruit hidden by cedar box, fertile earth notes and rich oak aromatics. It stays that way in the glass for at least a half an hour. By the time you are a little tipsy the wine starts to open to rich, sweet blackberry cassis fruit profile laced with notes. The tannin structure stays firm from opening to finish of the bottle w hich leads me to believe a long aging life awaits the wine. The acid is very much a part of the wine and is well balanced considering the higher alcohol levels.
Considering the structure of the wine I believe the release date should fall sometime in the fall with giving the wine two months to reaclimate to the end users cellar and settling time, ready to drink from early 2010 to 2016.
The wine is still very primary right now for a 2004 (surprisingly as high alcohol levels usually turn a wine rather rapidly). With the high tannin and acid I believe that this will not be the case. The high cedar and earth notes should develop with the wine as it starts to change, pushing them more into the fruit aromatics on the front end and incorporating themselves in a more secondary character on the finish. I would not expect the dense fruit to dissipate of change too much in the next six years, I do not know how long the wine has already been in the bottle (Ray?) so my observations are based on a single tasting of the wine last Sunday. This is a very interesting wine, one that I do not have much experience with at this quality level. If to draw a comparison I would have to equate it to a Western Australian (Margaret River)wine such as Leeuwin or Cape Mentelle as they to have the dense structure and high alcohol and tend to perform rather well in the cellar for 6 to 8 years effortlessly on a great vintage.
The only reason I believe that this wine may outperform those is that the color on the SP Reserve showed little to no oxidation in the color... so something is working in the wine. I would not deal with the fruit any other way than how Ray has handled it, and would love to use this fruit some day for myself as there is obviously something very special in that vineyard very worthwhile looking at.
Chris at Trelio
“FAIT ACCOMPLI” 2006 “V8” Estate Grown Madera County
A firm grip and lingering protracted release of flavors and aromas as this vintage is just now coming into its own. Belongs in your cellar and on your table.
"FAIT ACCOMPLI" 2005 "The Phoenix" Estate Grown, Madera County
Layers of soft complexity unfold from this warmish year, not unlike our 2000 vintage. More spice and minerals than red fruit.
SOLD OUT (Now trading at $65 / 750 ml)
"FAIT ACCOMPLI" 2004 "Evolution" Estate Grown, Madera County
Perhaps our most harmonious and well integrated rendition of our flagship wine to date.
SOLD OUT (Now trading at $70 / 750 ml)
"FAIT ACCOMPLI" 2003 Seventh Leaf Estate Grown, Madera County
"Seventh Leaf" indicates that this vintage marked the seventh time our Fait Accompli vineyard leafed out. In some old world venues and in O'Neals, this has a default quality and maturity significance. The gains in complex fruit composition are certainly more apparent now since we have met and pondered the positive contributions of vine maturity. Given an appropriate temperature, enjoy this robust claret into the next decade. 2004 Fait Accompli "Evolution".
SOLD OUT (Now trading at $75 / 750 ml)
"FAIT ACCOMPLI" Plethora 2002 Madera County
... is intense, assertive, and unapologetic; 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21.5% Cabernet Franc, 5.5% Merlot, 8.0% Malbec, 7.5% Petit Verdot, 1.5% Carmenere
SOLD OUT (Now trading at $80 / 750 ml)
"FAIT ACCOMPLI" (V3) Barbara Lee 2001 Madera County
... exhibits all the bright sensory expressions we have come to expect from our mountain vineyard. An amplified intensity due to vintage variation and attained vine age is also displayed in the aroma and taste. Our minimalist winemaking and sustainable methods of farming mountain grown fruit are boldly evident in this, our most spirited and complex wine to date.
SOLD OUT (Now trading at $95 / 750 ml)
"FAIT ACCOMPLI" (V2) Dietrich 2000 Madera County
(V2) has an alluring countenance. While it doesn't "leap" from the glass quite like our first vintage, it virtually explodes in the mouth. Ripe fruit and lees aging for a total of ten months in new Demptos Hybrid French-American barrels is consistent with our "wine over wood" philosophy. The result is a complete wine, born supple, yet with exceptional holding potential. A dark, powerful, mouth filling wine with complex expressions of currant and cedar.
SOLD OUT (Now trading at $130 / 750 ml)
"FAIT ACCOMPLI" First Harvest 1999 Madera County
A very dark, tight knit Claret with a structure guaranteed to take it into the next decade and beyond.
"A Silver Medal is like a kiss from your sister"
...Jerry Mead, Wine Critic and Consumer Advocate
Yet, the Silver Medal it was for our 1999 "FAIT ACCOMPLI" from the 25th Annual Orange County Fair Wine Competition held in June, 2001. Our award was earned in the "Meritage Red Over $45" classification.
SOLD OUT (Now trading at $230)
Ray and Tammy Krause, Proprietors
In our Museum Vineyard, we have planted seven heritage clones of Cabernet Sauvignon and one clone each of Gros Verdot and Cot (Malbec). Museum vines are trained to the ancient spur pruned Vertical Cordon.
Harvesting and co-fermenting all grape varieties together creates a flavor bond unlike anything that can be achieved through wine blending. This is not to say our method will necessarily produce wine superior to wine blending, but it does craft a wine that is decidedly complex and, as fortune would have it, much to our customers' liking.
The Real Winesmiths at Westbrook Wine Farm are the seriously finicky members of our Bunch Selection Committee. Each BSC individual can rightly claim to be a most important ingredient in our wine.
Ray and Tammy Krause, Proprietors