Our mountain-grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Barbera, Cinsault, and Syrah is a whole berry fermented, not crushed. Whole berries allow us to captivate its concentrated color and flavors, while preserving a fresh fruit profile. By early morning we had naturally cooled grapes delivered and ready at the winery to begin the process. First, whole clusters were gravity fed onto a vibrating table, allowing us to hand sort and remove damaged fruit and other materials. We gently fed the resulting clusters into a destemmer delivering whole, intact berries onto a vibrating screen for a last hand sorting to ensure that only the best berries make it to the fermentation process. After five days of cold maceration, the fruit entered primary fermentation for two to three weeks. It was then gently pressed in our stainless steel basket before transferring the wine into a wine barrel to finish malolactic fermentation, aged in 45% New French Oak for 17 to 28 months.
Our valley floor Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Pinot Blanc wines are whole cluster pressed in order to capture its concentrated flavors and colors, as well as preventing excessive oxidation to temperature control tanks. The wines are chilled to 45 degrees for 4 days and immediately racked to clean tanks and inoculated with a proven yeast for fermentation. I have selected the yeast for over 30 years to produce the characters, flavors, and aromas consistent with old. The yeast ferment the juice to reach 50 degrees for 30 days. At 14 to 15 bricks, I move the juice to 30% new wood French Oak barrels and allow to complete ferment till dryness. The wine will sit on its yeast settlement without movement for 16 to 24 months.
Each variety has its defining characteristics, the best way to bring them out is by intensifying and managing bright and ripe tannins. We must allow the wines to showcase the relationship between oxygen and tannin. Releasing trapped gases through air ration defines the target point to the style and composition of each wine.