This wine was crafted solely because vintage conditions presented a unique opportunity. I had not planned on saignee (bleeding) some of the Troubadour lots in 2016, but felt that if I did, I would make a better wine. In general, I feel that most rosé made just from saignee is quite plain and boring. So I decided to not only use saignee juice, but also to use some of the pressed-out skins from those lots to ferment this wine. I then back-blended with almost 20 percent of the dry red wine from the 2016 Troubadour to finish the vision. I named this wine “American Girl” because it’s not a French rosé at all; it’s got tannins, it’s got oak, and it’s a real food wine, not a sipper. The wine actually is a close relative of the Troubadour—almost like its little girl. I guarantee the result is unlike any rosé you’ve ever tasted. I recognize that a rosé made this way probably will require customers to set aside their expectations of a fun and fruity tailgate wine, and open their minds to something different. I like to think of it as a serious rosé. In this case, serious is good.
The lyric that accompanies this wine tries to capture some of that seriousness. It is the “title line” from the classic Bob Dylan song, “Shelter from the Storm.” The lyric reads: “I’ll give you shelter from the storm…” Basically what I’m trying to convey is the idea that even though this is a rosé, it’s strong and complex enough to spark a fulfilling experience.
Vintage Notes: So, serious is good because the wine has a fresh aroma of maraschino cherries, wild berry fruits, sandalwood, toffee and dried cranberries. It underwent a partial malo-lactic fermentation to fatten the round, broad grape and barrel tannins but maintained a crisp acidity at 6.5g/L and a pH of 3.35. I have now tasted this wine several times since bottling and I really like the rich textural mouthfeel and creamy tannins that finish with a zesty pomegranate and creme brûlée after taste. The wine should be served at cellar temperature of around 55F, so not too cold, so that the 14.1% alcohol will coat your palate and accentuate the fresh flavors of pinot noir. I have enjoyed this wine with all kinds of music; from Sammy Hagar to Heart and from Aerosmith to ZZ Top. I hope this rosé will help you find your muse!
The Label Story
My wife Heather and I were fortunate enough to work with Byron Hoffman on our label design. This process was developed though several meetings at our home in Healdsburg that would sometimes last four or five hours. We talked about our family, my passion for music (rock ‘n’ roll in particular), how the wine business has provided us with an amazing life, and why we decided to pursue this project. We believe Byron very much captured our vision. This was one of the most rewarding processes I have ever been through. It seemed to finally bring our dream to life.
I adamantly resisted having my name “splashed” across the labels, so it may take a much closer look to find it. “Bob Cabral Wines” was used because the name “Cabral” had already be trademarked by a North American company importing Portuguese ports. That was just fine with me. We have used proprietary names for each wine. Each of those names has personal meaning and significance, those names have the largest font you’ll see on each label. Appellation, varietal, and vintage also are visible, since those are the most relevant information to any wine label. Byron deftly added many subtle elements from my fascination of old concert posters: the “bleeding” of color and backward lettering in a sort of balloon font to the color and texture of the paper stock we used. Each label also has a fragment of song lyric that I chose for a number of different reasons. Each is unique and meaningful to me, and I hope you find your own inspiration or muse as you enjoy the wines.
Rat De Cave
The French candle-stand called “Rat de Cave” or Cellar Rat, was the essential working tool used in the wine cellars of Burgundy. Its origin stems from far back in the past. In the year 1000 the Monks of the famous Abbey of Cluny, near Vougeot, used it to illuminate the caves that housed their wine barrels. This provided them with the necessary light to work with the wine barrels throughout the vintage. During fermentation, the colour of the flame showed the eventual evolution of gases as the wines underwent a chemical transformation. The Monks then knew to leave the caves due to lack of oxygen - a “canary” if you will. The handle or “rats tail” provides an easy grip and the hook permits to hang the stand on a nail or the head of an oak barrel. This would allow the Monks to rack the clear wine off of the heavy sediment or lees.
We chose this “tool” as a tribute or symbol to the traditional Burgundian methods I am using to craft our wines. Incorporating these traditions is an essential part of my winemaking thought process and vision - plus it’s really cool. You will not see this symbol on any of our labels, but should become quite familiar with it on the end of our bottle capsules. We hope that the flame inspires everyone towards a world of hope, peace and love.