Three Vintages—One Wine
Ensemble Cellars is dedicated to the production of just one wine, “THE WINE” which is the culmination of three years of effort from three successive vintages, (except for Release Number One, a blend of two vintages). Our approach utilizes only the best French Oak Barrels to produce only Cabernet Sauvignon dominated Bordeaux blends. This means we will blend other Bordeaux varietals such as Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Dedicated...to small lot production of Cabernet Sauvignon based blends of Bordeaux varietals. Each release is handcrafted, orchestrating quality fruit grown on unique sites from different vintages with 100% French Oak to achieve layered complexity, balance, and a polished structure. Our approach is similar to composing a beautiful symphony by blending instrumentation, musical themes and styles with balanced perfection. Craig Nelsen, Winemakerand/or Petite Verdot with Cabernet Sauvignon using only the best barrels of wine produced. Only the highest quality fruit from unique vineyards in Washington State are chosen.
We are committed to handcrafting small “lots” totaling less than 500 cases per year.
Among the vineyards we have chosen to feature in our blends are Dubrul, Lodmell, and Neuffer. Dubrul Vineyards is located in the Yakima Valley Appelation and provides fruit with bright cherry notes and good acidity from a beautiful site. Lodmell Vineyards is located on bluffs above the Snake River in Walla Walla County and provides concentrated dark fruit flavors, firm tannins, and good acidity along with a unique “spice” quality. Neuffer Vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley Appellation offers rich fruit flavors, good balance, and a wonderful Cabernet Franc. Along with these vineyards we typically will add three to four small “lots” of fruit from other quality vineyards to increase complexity and depth in the flavor profile.
Each year winemaker Craig Nelsen carefully selects the fruit needed to achieve the wine style he desires, balancing the characteristics of each vintage with each “release” blend. The balance between new and neutral French Oak and the matching of the right barrel producer with each “lot” of fruit to realize the desired flavor nuance is one of the keys to success.
Every spring the very best barrels of wine from the current vintage are selected. Some of this wine is blended with the previous "VINTAGE" barrels and the current RELEASE barrels (that had been held back) to produce the optimum blend possible. As you might imagine, the possibilities are endless, but at some point “THE WINE” jumps out of the glass and says “I am the one!!!”
Following our spring blending trials we may keep some barrel “lots” separate for blending later, depending on how they develop. Beginning with our RELEASE NUMBER TWO each release will include wine aged approximately 12 mos., 24 mos., and 36 mos. in French Oak.