At the Frei Brothers Winery we craft our wines in agentle, traditional style enhanced through the use of modern technology that makes fruit the focus and showcases the best that each varietal and appellation have to offer.
The grapes for our Cabernet Sauvignon were gently destemmed but not crushed, with 20% to 30% whole berries sent to the fermenter. We find that whole berry fermentation produces concentrated, fresh, and forward black fruit flavors in the finished wine. We used 70% upright and 30% horizontal rotary fermenters to gently mix the juice and skins and prevent tannic bitterness. Temperatures were closely monitored and kept between 85-88º during fermentation to yield a richer, rounder mouthfeel and body. The must was cold soaked for 2 days for maximum extraction of color and flavor from the grape skins.
After primary fermentation, the wine completed malolactic fermentation to soften the acid structure and to add complexity. The wine was then aged in 62% new barrels and 38% prior used barrels for an average of 16 months. The barrels were racked every four to six months early and topped every 6 weeks late in the aging cycle to clarify the wine naturally and to assist in the aging process. The wine was minimally filtered.
Frei Brothers Reserve is a winemaking story more than a century in the making. In 1890, Swiss immigrant Andrew Frei purchased the core of what is now Frei Ranch in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley. The superb stretch of land was already a vineyard, but Frei brought it to prominence when he built a winery that produced 20,000 cases of wine annually by 1895. In 1903, Frei turned the winery over to his sons, Walter and Louis, who adopted the name Frei Brothers.
After the repeal of Prohibition, the vineyards caught the eye of Julio Gallo, winemaker for the rapidly expanding E. & J. Gallo Winery. The Gallo family began buying grapes from Frei Ranch, eventually signing an agreement to purchase the estate’s annual wine grape crop.
When Andrew Frei’s descendents retired in the late 1970s, the Gallo family purchased Frei Ranch, further developing the vineyard and the winery. Today, Frei Brothers Reserve carries on the rich legacy of both our home vineyard and Sonoma’s celebrated appellations.