It has been madness since our last update … all of our fruit has come in and almost all of our wines have completed fermentation. The yeasty and warm aromas of fermenting juice have mostly dissipated, and the winery is slowly returning to some semblance of normalcy, so we have begun to plan our Thanksgiving release and holiday events (please see below).On September 24 we brought in just over a ton of fruit from Beck Vineyard and de-stemmed the fruit by hand. We’re co-fermenting the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot together and the blend is still fermenting after 31 days in tank. We’re tasting it a couple times a week and watching the concentration and complexity of the wine increase with each tasting … it has a color reminiscent of the evening sky just as the sun sets, a concentrated darkness with purplish highlights, with a fully ripe and succulent palate of dark berry compote.
We just picked our small lot of Cabernet Sauvignon from Harmony School Vineyard Sunday, October 9, at dawn. This fruit went directly into six new French oak barrels for extended fermentation and will continue to macerate for another 6-8 weeks.
We harvested Chardonnay from Loma Blanca Vineyard in Carneros on the morning of September 25. The juice fermented quickly on native yeasts in a combination of new and neutral French oak and is just finishing malolactic fermentation now. We are beginning to stir the lees in the barrels for density and complexity of flavor.
One of the most interesting wines of the season was the Sauvignon Blanc from Alsace Vineyard in Rutherford. We picked this fruit on September 16 and whole cluster pressed the juice directly to a combination of once-used and neutral French oak. The wine fermented spontaneously on native yeasts despite very high ripeness. We set aside one barrel of the softest press wine to a new barrel for the Reserve Blanc, and while young, it is impeccably peachy and tropical, full bodied and wonderfully balanced.
And then there are the Pinot Noirs … as we reported earlier in the season, we were fortunate enough to contract for four separate small lots of Pinot Noir this year: one small lot from Gremlin Vineyard in the Carneros AVA of Sonoma Valley, a tiny portion of Napa Valley Pinot Noir from Kim Giles Vineyard just overlooking San Pablo Bay, and two separate lots from the bio-dynamically farmed Filigreen Farm in Anderson Valley. All of these lots fermented on native yeasts and the Gremlin, Kim Giles, and Filigreen Farms Old Vine lots were pressed by hand in our old hand-crank press. The barrels are still percolating through malolactic, but they taste wonderful, each lot distinctly unique even at this early stage.
Then, rain on October 18 officially brought this year’s harvest to a close. In short, it’s been a very exciting time in our little industrial chic warehouse on the outskirts of Napa!
Some new wines to tempt you…We bottled a truly boutique 27 cases of 2014 Reserve Blanc (a late harvest, un-inoculated and skin-fermented Sauvignon Blanc) on September 18 with help from our Arvai family and our master of the cave Ben “Cooperman” Kopman. You can find pictures from all of it on Instagram here. It will be released later this year. We are also shortly releasing the regular blend of the 2014 Sauvignon Blanc from St. Helena, Napa Valley. Notes and more details will be forthcoming shortly, but this is a fully loaded and beautifully nuanced Sauvignon with our house style tropical fruit, vanilla, and citrusy mid-palate.
For Thanksgiving we are releasing a Thanksgiving Special Selection. Choose either a six bottle set (three bottles each of 2013 Chardonnay and 2013 Pinot Noir) or the “party package” with twelve bottles (three bottles each of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon). Shipping included until Friday November 11.
We hope to see you at the winery soon!
With love from Napa Valley,
Juliana & Sean