2008 Kuleto Estate El Coyote Red, Napa Valley
The 2008 El Coyote Red Wine is a perfect example of how we follow ripeness and maturity at Kuleto Estate and often ignore the concept of varietal designation for finished wines. Vintage 2008 was the first year that we experimented with co-fermenting Malbec with Syrah in order to add some flesh and fat of the latter to the skeleton of the former. The result was a wine of beautiful tension between fresh and cooked fruits, floral notes and meatiness, bright acidity with some weight. We were so enamored with the result of one of the lots that we vowed to bottle some as a stand-alone wine. Prior to bottling, a bit of Cabernet that was co-fermented with Petit Verdot was added to give the wine some breadth of palate. It was bottled without labels and without a name and sent to our warehouse, where it hibernated for a couple of years. Eventually, it emerged with the name “El Coyote”, which is the name of one of our vineyard blocks and also one of our more picturesque vineyard pests. At four plus years in the bottle, it exhibits a fascinating mix of aromas and flavors and has managed to keep the aforementioned tension between things fresh and things cooked, and things animal-like and things fruity. Like a high quality Barbera with a bit of age, it needs just a bit of air and a lot of rich food!
58% Malbec, 30% Syrah, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot
28 months in 38% new French oak
Wines from vintage 2008 were most influenced by the severe frosts that we suffered when shoots were already 12-18 inches out. As a result, we lost up to 30% of our fruit in certain blocks. Fortunately, the hilltop and shoulder locations of most of our non-Cabernet blocks allowed the freezing air to drain away thereby avoiding severe damage. A moderate to small crop enjoyed a warm summer without heat spikes and developed incredibly pure flavors in the skins and mature seeds. Twenty to thirty-six day macerations on the skins created wines with tremendous depth.