Le Petit Caporal in 2016 is 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot and 33% Cabernet Franc. All the grapes come from the stellar Argetsinger Vineyard and its adjoining Glen Eldridge vineyard, sloping steeply into the eastern shores of Seneca Lake. The wine is a true Bordeaux blend, paying homage to the original cool-climate region in France where these grapes are grown and blended to make classic Bordeaux wines.
From the very ripe 2016 vintage, this wine is drinking well right now but will age gracefully for a long time. With an even blend of all three varieties, each adds to the character of the wine with abundant fruit, serious tannins and a long, layered finish.
The Argetsinger Vineyard is located on the Southeast side of Seneca Lake below the village of Burdett. The Cabernet Franc block is on the lowest portion of the vineyard with a higher clay content, which favors this variety. The vines utilize the Verticle Shoot Positioning trellis system.
The Glen Eldridge Vineyard is located below the Argetsinger Vineyard. It is a very steep, terraced vineyard located on what is perhaps the best protected vineyard site in the entire Finger Lakes region.
The grapes were fully destemmed and crushed on their way to the open-top fermenters. After gradually warming for 5-6 days, the fermentation started. The grapes were punched down several times daily with multiple pump-overs primarily during the early and middle parts of the fermentation. After three weeks of skin contact, the fermenters were drained and the skins bucketed out by hand to the press. The free run and gentle press fractions were combined in stainless steel tanks for several days prior to transfer to barrels. The components were aged in 80% French oak and 20% American oak with a five year rotation (20% new oak) until early September. At this time, the components were blended and transferred to neutral oak barrels for an additional six months of barrel aging. The wine saw very loose filtration on its way to the bottling line.