Barrel fermented, rich, round, beautifully balanced
The grapes were picked on September 17th in what was one of the earliest vintages in some time. The vineyard had been leafed on the north side only, so about 10-15% of the fruit was russeted and with a few raisins within the clusters indicating full ripeness. We hand-picked the rows we had selected at dawn with the full moon shining in the east. The fruit was very cool and the juice in the tank was 25+ brix. The other fruit chemistry was also well balanced with a 3.38 pH and 0.67 TA.
We pressed the whole clusters and settled the juice overnight. The next day, Claude inoculated half of the juice with Cepage CH and half with CY3079 yeasts and then moved the juice to the barrels for fermentation. Our barrel blend was 75% American and 25% French oak. The French was new (Francois Freres) and the American was a 2-year-old Mendocino Cooperage which we had loved the year before and some 1-year-old World Cooperage. All were medium toast. The wine was in barrel ‘sur lie’ for 10 months with the lees being stirred weekly. While this is extremely laborious, we think you will find that the palate has been enriched both texturally and organoleptically (taste).
This wine is very round, fleshy, succulent, a rich entry through finish, with tropical fruits, citrus crème brulee and honey notes. The acidity is balanced and you can enjoy a fair amount in one sitting without feeling engorged. The first meal I had this wine with was, believe it or not, rib-eye steak (sorry, vegetarians), and it was rich enough to go with the fat of the rib-eye very nicely. We have had wonderful feedback from friends and associates in the wine industry.