Our wines are characterized by a fruit forward nature to both the aroma and flavor that provides a good representation of the grape used to make the wine. This is followed by a depth, richness, and complexity that is enhanced by aging in small oak barrels. Our wines finish with a smooth aftertaste where the tannins are soft and mature. My mantra as a winemaker is to pack as much flavor and character into a wine as possible without stepping over the line and making a wine so tannic that aging is required to balance and round the wine. This is not to say that our wines won't age. They will. It's just that they don't need to in order to be enjoyed. I have had many conversations with our visitors regarding aging. What really focuses the discussion is my question, what is it about this wine you want to change by aging? There is usually a pause and a reflection and then a realization that there really isn't much that aging is going to provide that the wine doesn't already have upon release.
We don't make wine with the expectation that the consumer is going to age it to maximize their enjoyment of it. Over the past three decades we have developed and refined our winemaking techniques and protocols to provide a rich full flavor without the burden of chalky astringent tannins. I made that type of wine in my youth and some of my earlier efforts are still in my cellar. Unfortunately the fruit has dried up and faded away and the tannins are still present. On the other hand we have enjoyed ten and twelve year old Barberas, Zinfandels and Petite Sirahs that still have plenty of fruit character and interesting nuanced bouquets from time spent in the bottle. One of the advantages of managing the tannins in the wine is that they can carry a bit more fruit acid and it is this additional acid that helps the wine hold its fruit flavors as it ages. I don't want to sound too technical, but it has become fairly easy to predict the aging potential of our wines simply by looking at the pH at bottling.
We do not grow any of the grapes we use to make our wines. Instead we partner with growers situated in the best location for the grapes they grow and provide to us. This enables us to offer a wide variety of flavors and textures from throughout California. At 'last count' we are planning to crush twenty two different varieties from nine different appellations for the 2013 vintage:
Zinfandel, Primitivo, Barbera, Sangiovese, Dolcetto, Carignane and Charbono
Charbono, Malbec, and Alicante Bouchet
Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Dolcetto
Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon
Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc, and Tempranillo
Grenache, Touriga, Souzao, Tannat, and Trincadera