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 2021 Aviator

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2021 Aviator

 2021 Aviator
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This new release is now available for online shipping orders and will be available in Tasting Rooms starting Friday, June 14, 2024.

Tasting Notes

The 2021 Aviator is a full-bodied Bordeaux-style blend with powerful aromas of black cherry and black currant layered with hints of cola, graphite, and seared leather. The palate is robust yet balanced, featuring restrained tannins and secondary flavors of sweet chocolate, roasted sage, and salted toffee. As the wine exits the palate, it showcases structure and length, offering layers of sweet oak spices and a dark berry medley. It is best enjoyed between now and 2038, with optimal maturity reached in 2035.

Vineyard Designation

100% Estate Grown

Vintage Notes

The 2021 vintage will be recorded as one the warmest in Washington State history. With a mild winter and a warm spring, we saw bud break during the second week of April, about 1 to 2 weeks earlier than average. Then we experienced a heat wave in late June that lasted roughly six weeks with over 35 days of 100°+ temperatures and some daily highs nearing 118° Fahrenheit. This period of extreme heat began when the grapes were in a cluster and berry size development stage, causing grapes to stress out weeks before we vintners would prefer. Smaller berry size led to an overall 30% reduction in crop size for us. On the bright side, these smaller berries produced phenomenal flavors. We also saw rapid ripening at a pace last seen in 2015, creating a very early harvest start. By the end of August, we had brought in nearly 150 tons of sparkling wine grapes and Sauvignon Blanc grapes, hands down an August record for us at Airfield. By the end of September, we had crushed every white varietal, which was beneficial for us in winemaking as we could then give 100% of our attention to red varietals. October started with nice warm temperatures, and the pace of grape harvesting was going very well, with ideal ripeness and exceptional quality. By the third week of October, we did see several freezing events causing our canopies to die. With only a limited amount of fruit remaining, it was easy for us to harvest the last remaining fruit before the end of October. In the end, the 2021 vintage made outstanding wine. Our red wines display dark fruit elements with structure and finesse. The wines created in 2021 will be enjoyable in their youth but also age-worthy, making a lasting impression.

Winemaking Notes

All of the varietals for this blend were sourced from reserve tier blocks on our estate vineyard. These blocks were cropped to low yields to produce dark, concentrated flavors while balancing out tannins. Each element was harvested at optimal maturity, sorted, sent to small fermenters, cold-soaked for 48 hours, and then inoculated with very specific yeast strains selected to help each wine achieve particular flavor and mouthfeel profiles. Although our extraction protocol for each varietal varied, we generally achieved 80% of our extraction early on before 8% alcohol. After that point, we tapered off to a gentle extraction approach. Once each lot was fully extracted, some lots were left on the skins for an extended maceration to develop more exotic and compelling flavors, while other lots were sent directly to the press. Each wine was barreled down into exclusive French oak barrels and inoculated for malolactic fermentation. During this process, the lees were stirred twice a month for three months to help build roundness and naturally soften the wine. Overall, the wine was aged for 21 months in French oak barrels (58% new French oak, 32% 2-year-old French oak). A wine of this caliber was created to be enjoyed in its youth, yet has the structure to age for many years to come.

* Produced in a Vegan Manner (No animal by-products were used in the production of this wine)

Food Pairing

Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon
Roast Lamb seasoned with Fresh Herbs
Sautéed Mushrooms
Aged Cheddar or Bleu Cheese

  • Varietal Composition: 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc
  • Appellation: Yakima Valley
  • Aging / Barrel Program: 21 months in French oak (58% new, 32% 2-year-old French oak barrels)
  • Cases Produced: 291
  • Alcohol: 14.3%
  • pH: 3.69
  • Acidity: 6.2 g/L
  • Ageability: Now through 2038, with optimal maturity in 2035

Download Wine Notes