A bottle of wine is like a time capsule, capturing a place in time.
I love what I do and I hope to express that through wine. It is such a great medium because so many different factors converge from myriad options and directions into one snap shot, one interpretation of many represented in the bottle. And yet, the wine continues to evolve in the bottle and change. Even though the factors that shaped it have passed, the evolution of that expression continues.
These limited wines are vineyard designations, originating from within the appellations of the Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley and Sonoma Mountain. These celebrated vineyards came to be because of their unique blend of location, environmental influence and the people that passionately tend them. I’ve worked with each grower since 1997 and believe that human relationships also find their expression through grapes and wines. I believe that each vineyard’s terroir, or sense of place, is defined by the soil and climate but shaped by the steward.
I do as much of the work in the vineyard and winery as I am able, from grape to glass. I work with my growers from pruning through harvest, gauging and shaping the conditions for the optimum development of fruit maturity and ripeness. Together we provide resources when needed and restrict them as necessary.
Through the cultivation of the grapes and the raising of the wine, it is my hope to shape the expression of a vineyard’s history, the effect of a growing season, the passion of the grower and the elements of Mother Nature into wines that are elegantly balanced, deliciously textured and firmly structured.
To that end, we rigorously sort the fruit in the vineyard and again at the winery. The Pinot noir is de-stemmed but not crushed and begins a cold soak for up to 10 days. Each season and the condition of the fruit dictate the pressing regime for the Chardonnay, whether whole cluster or de-stemmed and crushed.
Native yeast ferment the majority of these wines and native malolactic bacteria complete the secondary fermentations. The exception to wild yeast fermentations are in the Musque clone portions of the Porter-Bass and Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnays. Both varieties rest on their lees (sur lies) in barrel, aging in French Oak with just enough new wood to support the wine rather than overwhelm its voice. The percentage is about 50% new wood.
I try to stay out of the way during this time, just making sure the wines are on track and the barrels remain full. This minimal intervention continues with two rackings from barrel and back prior to bottling in order to preserve the freshness and character of the wine. As a result, you may find some sediment in your glass as the wines are bottled without fining or filtering.
I hope you enjoy tasting these wines as much as I enjoy making them.