We began making Rosé from Touriga Nacional in 2010. We were compelled by the grape’s deep color, brilliant acidity and aromatic complexity even at low sugar content. Touriga is a late-ripening Portuguese variety that needs some heat to mature, and we have sought out vineyards suited to this hearty variety.
The original fruit source came from the rocky volcanic soils of the Luchsinger vineyard, located at 1400′ in the Clear Lake AVA. In 2015, we added Touriga from St. Amant, planted in sandy granitic loam at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Amador County. In 2021 we discovered Touriga at St. Jorge vineyard in Lodi’s Mokelumne River AVA, planted in granitic alluvial soils amidst steady delta breezes. We also utilized the intriguing Tinta Cão from this site, and in 2022 we added Trincadeira as well. In 2021 we began working with Touriga from the Pierce Ranch, situated in the remote San Antonio Valley of southern Monterey County, marked by sandy clay soils with white diatomaceous rock known as Monterey Shale. Additionally, we were able to source a small block of Grenache from the incredible Fenaughty vineyard situated at 2,800’ elevation in the Sierra Foothills above Placerville.
The fruit from all of these vineyard sites is hand-harvested, then lightly crushed by foot to release some color prior to pressing. The juice is fermented with native yeasts and full native malolactic in all stainless steel tanks, then blended together to harmonize prior to bottling in early January.
CALIFORNIA RED WINE
In 2021 we decided to make a wine inspired by old-school California Cabernet-based blends. The 2021 is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc and 20% Merlot. We were fortunate to secure old vine Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from the historic Massa Vineyard, perched 1300’ above the Carmel Valley, the first planting in the AVA. We were also honored to work with Cabernet from the historic Bedrock vineyard, owned and farmed by Morgan Twain-Peterson in the heart of the Sonoma Valley. Cabernet also came from the Gordenker Vineyard, growing in the volcanic red clay loam of Sonoma Valley’s Moon Mountain District. The Cabernet Franc comes from Persia Vineyard, located in the volcanic cobble of the Chalk Hill AVA.
All the sites were harvested and vinified separately. The fruit was destemmed and fermented using native yeasts, then blended and aged in 50% concrete tank and 50% neutral French oak barrels for 10 months. The resulting wine is 12.5% alcohol and is vibrantly aromatic, supported by punchy fruit and fresh acidity. We crafted this wine to pair well with food and be ready to drink upon release but we also see that it has strong potential for positive development with some time in the bottle.
We began making Trousseau in 2009, when we discovered the variety growing at the Luchsinger Vineyard, situated at 1,400’ elevation in the Big Valley AVA of Lake County. The vines here are planted in rocky volcanic alluvium on the remains of an ancient riverbed, and Trousseau thrives in the warm days and cool nights characteristic of this area. We appreciate this unique variety for its ability to make a wine that is light in color but packed with flavor, and we feel it is an extremely versatile wine that will pair well with a wide variety of foods and occasions.
SYRAH, SONOMA COAST
This cuvée exemplifies cold-climate Syrah grown on the rugged Sonoma Coast and is one of our hallmark bottlings. A blend of four amazing sites grown on the coast: Clary Ranch, Que Syrah, Baker Lane and Solas vineyards. Syrah is well suited for life on the Sonoma Coast as the loose clusters and thick skins manage the cool, windy and often damp growing conditions well. The long slow growing season near the edge of the continent provides complete ripeness at low sugar levels, resulting in a wine of deep color that has intense fruit character loaded with an undercurrent of earth and spice. The vineyards are each harvested and fermented separately without destemming, then blended together for aging. This is the Syrah to enjoy in its youth while our single vineyard Syrahs mature in the cellar.
GAMAY NOIR, CALIFORNIA
We first began working with Gamay in 2011 as a collaborative effort with our friend Rajat Parr under the RPM label, until the final vintage for the RPM project in 2015. The original sources were Barsotti and Witters vineyards grown in the granitic soils of the Sierra Foothills, situated at around 3000’ elevation. In 2022 we were fortunate to begin working with Gamay from the Ascona Vineyard high up in the Santa Cruz Mountains at 2,500′ elevation. We employ the carbonic maceration technique where the uncrushed grapes are sealed up for several days, allowing the berries to begin fermentation from the inside out. This method is used by many of our favorite Beaujolais producers and adds a spicy fruitiness that infuses freshness and energy in the resulting wines.