Lobo Hills "Super Cab" 2018
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“Super Cab” is the secret nickname for this wine; you won’t find it on the bottle or for that matter, anywhere else in writing. But the super-understated Tony Dollar, winemaker/proprietor of Lobo Hills, has this special moniker for this slayer of dragons, so who are we to argue?
The ‘18 comes at the right time. We’re munching on sun-ripened blackberries on hikes, bikes, neighborhood walks–they are everywhere in our part of Oregon–and “Super Cab” reminds us of that burst of flavor: sweet and pure with a hint of earthen dust. Like all of Tony’s wines, it’s defined more by its balance and freshness than by heft and brawn, adding a bright black cherry cream-like note to the building finish. Tony says to decant one hour (see below); we tasted over four days and trust us, that strategy works too.
From Tony: The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon from Sugarloaf Vineyard is a fantastic wine. It presents a lovely balance of berry and tree fruit in the aromas, coupled with the lovely wood spice from new and once used French oak barrels. Think blackberries, dark cherries, hazelnuts and cloves. The palate is rich and full with food-friendly acidity, lingering with flavors of cassis, blackberries, chocolate, anise and black pepper. Decant 1 hour.
2014 vintage notes
Super Cab is the nickname winemaker Tony Dollar uses for this Cab, for good reason. Tony put together a blinded wine tasting for several Northwest wine professionals of fifteen top Cabernets from around the world and put two bottles of his 2014 Cab into the line-up, one which had been decanted for three hours and one which had been opened for twenty four hours. The top wine: the 24-hour Super Cab. The second place wine: the 3-hour decanted Super Cab. None of the wine pros called that the two Super Cabs were the same wine, a testament to how much the wine changes with air and time!
Unapologetically, classically structured, with stacks of fruit backed by notable tannins that are filled with flavor. We don’t mean to give you instructions for enjoying wine, but open it the day before you plan to drink it or decant it a few hours like Tony did.
The Cabernet comes from these vineyards: 69% Sugarloaf, 15% Elephant Mountain in the Rattlesnake Hills and 11% Tapteil on Red Mountain, with 5% Petit Verdot from Wahluke Slope.
From Tony: “The vineyard designate version of our Cabernet Sauvignon reflects a consistent refinement of our efforts to make an old world version of a Cabernet Sauvignon with new world fruit. It is our best effort to date.
The fruit selection comes from three exceptional AVAs: Rattlesnake Hills, Red Mountain and the Wahluke Slope. The rolling hills of the Sugarloaf Vineyard are unique in Washington. The ice age floods passed this area by, leaving native soils, ones with clay deposits. In Washington, this soil concentrates the flavor of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. It’s from this vineyard we receive the plum characteristic you see in quintessential California Cabernet Sauvignons. The high desert climate of Elephant Mountain brings the dusty sage and black cherries; Red Mountain’s power is reflected in the cassis aromatics. The Petit Verdot from Wahluke Slope’s premier vineyard, Stone Tree, brings the black tea and sage notes.
The grapes for this wine were harvested at a lower brix, fermented until “cap” drop and then aged for one year on the heavy lees. The lees were stirred once a month for one year, building in depth and roundness. The wine was then racked and put back into barrel for another 10 months. The wine was aged in new French oak for the second year of its duration, and each barrel was hand selected for this wine. As with all of our red wines, this wine was put into the bottle unfined and unfiltered, and no chemicals were used in making this wine.
The winemaker highly recommends that you decant this wine for three hours prior to dinner. You can also cellar this wine for 10 years (minimum).”
About the Lobo in Lobo Hills: “Like most elementary kids, I loved animals. I studied them and spent countless hours reading about them in encyclopedias and tracing their pictures. Wolves were a favorite. By age five, I knew Lobo was Spanish for wolf.
At age 7, our family moved to Almaden Valley in south San Jose. I’ll never forget my first day in my new school; I christened it with my first fight.
Our janitor, a migrant worker from Mexico, took me under his wing. One day, he called me into his office – more like a closet – and showed me three puppies that he had found whimpering and abandoned while off-loading his truck at a dumpsite. He offered me a pup and I said yes, but the principal had other ideas.
The principal offered these puppies to all students – provided they could get permission from their parents. Of course, I called my Mom immediately. She lent a sympathetic ear, but insisted she get permission from my dad. He worked construction and she promised to call the job site. I called back within the hour; it was down to two puppies. Still, no word from dad. I called back in another hour; one puppy was left. No word from dad. I begged; I pleaded; I sealed the deal – as a third grader – by offering to take the puppy back if dad didn’t like it. Well, dad didn’t like it but my family still got to keep the pup – a half Husky and half German Shepard that we named Lobo.
This winery might bear that dog’s name, but that name means more. Lobo represents the act of grace of a humble man who rescued abandoned puppies and gave them homes. It also allowed me to fight my first fight – for the puppy that became part of our family.
Fight good fights. Fight them to win. Drink good wine afterwards.