The nose is instantly alluring. One expects from your basic Grenache a simple strawberry aroma, but here we have in support of its bright fruitiness an intriguing collection of melon, droughty “garrigue” herbs, saddle leather and Asian spice. The mouth is medium-bodied with fine tannins and energetic minerality
As a result, the wine is more complex and intriguing than a simple picnic wine but is certainly suitable for an outing in some summer meadow with a basket full of chicken and three-bean salad with sun-dried tomatoes. Its tannins have no edge at all, so I wouldn’t serve it with a steak, but it loves game, from venison to quail and is magic with my Swedish meatballs, doused in a morel / porcini cream sauce with a dash of Marsala.
The enormous dimensions of this pure Syrah required 78 months in very old French oak to develop its indescribably profound aroma and soften its impossibly dense tannins.
Its soulful “come hither” derives from the weight and finesse of its tannins, which serve to integrate its aromatics into a resonant “single voice.” Nelson Eddy’s performance of Arthur Sullivan’s The Lost Chord is the best I can do to describe it. When our tiny production is gone, it may be that only in heaven may you behold its like.
For geeky sheet Click Here
Rich blueberries typical to the cool regions surrounding the town of Napa are supported by massive but refined tannins which should gain depth for several decades.
This is “real wine” with incredibly dense, melted tannins. Its five-ton harvest is the entire focus of our winemaking consulting team during harvest. Picked at the peak of phenolic ripeness, these small berries yielded very low volumes of intensely tannic juice packed with blueberry aromas.
For geeky sheet Click Here
Joe Ramazotti’s living soil on the Alexander Valley floor produces unusually lush plum aromas and fine tannins, resulting in a generous sweet core of fruit and very little vegetal character. By contrast, Blue Rock Vineyard’s nearby serpentine hillside gives us an angular, aggressive component which frames and lends definition to the blend. We blended in Mark Lange’s impressive Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon for a more fleshy structure and some chocolaty aroma notes. During 15 months’ time in small French oak, the blend developed intense spice aromas and mineral energy classically associated with Chinon, but a graceful structure and roundness more often seen in St. Emillion.
Less muscular than our Cabernet Sauvignon, our Franc nevertheless offers a mouthful of spicey flavor depth which loves firelight, wild mushrooms and roasted fowl.
Joe Ramazotti’s living soil in the Alexander Valley grows grapes with unusually lush plum aromas and fine tannins, resulting in a generous sweet core of fruit with very little vegetal character. Working in synergy, Blue Rock Vineyard’s nearby serpentine hillside gives us fruit with an angular, aggressive component which frames and lends definition to the blend. We blended in Mark Lange’s impressive Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon for a more fleshy structure and some chocolaty aroma notes. After 27 months ensconced in small French cooperage, the cuveé developed intense spice aromas and a mineral energy classically associated with Chinon wines, along with the graceful structure and roundness more often seen in Cab Francs from St. Emillion.
Bright and firm, our Franc offers a mouthful of spicy flavor and depth which loves firelight, wild mushrooms and roasted fowl. This wine is to be enjoyed now and can will age gracefully for 10 years or more in a well tended cellar.
This wine was grown in the famed Student Vineyard at Napa Valley College, perhaps the most lovingly and intensely cared for vineyard in the entire Napa Valley. Clone 337, when grown in the long ripening period near San Pablo Bay, expresses massive structure, profound color and intense dark fruit aromatics. Picked at the peak of phenolic ripeness, these small berries yield tiny volumes of intensely tannic juice packed with black fruit aromas. Crucible’s profound essence of rich blueberries is a typical expression of the Coombsville district surrounding Napa town.
Dr. Stephen Krebs, Dean of Viticulture and Winery Technology, Napa Valley College, who grew the grapes, had this to say: "The 2005 Crucible is a true revelation. I am totally stunned and nearly speechless in awe of this wine. It is certainly among the very best California Cabernet Sauvignons I have ever tasted. The closest comparison I can conjure is that it reminds me of a tasting of a flight of all of the 2005 (I think) first growth Bordeaux that I participated in a few years ago. With those wines, you felt like getting down on one knee and bowing your head in reverence and I'm getting the same sense with this one. Wow!"
For geeky sheet Click Here
The making of Crucible is our pride and joy, truly a labor of love.
Picked at the peak of phenolic ripeness, these small berries yield tiny volumes of intensely tannic juice packed with black fruit aromas. We applied the élevage teachings of our guru Patrick Ducournau to achieve aromatic integration on a scale seldom seen, resulting in a hollow soulfulness which captivates the spirit.
Though the resulting wine possesses almost impossible density, its real allure is its regally understated aromatics which drag you into the glass, together with the refinement with which it carries its massive tannins. Its soulful “come hither” derives from the weight and finesse of its tannins, which serve to integrate its aromatics into a resonant “single voice.”
For geeky sheet here Click Here
In 2001 we decided to undertake an experiment in ancient winemaking, vinifying this robust syrah grown in high-altitude living granite with and without the modern sulfite addition all the experts tout as indispensable. The conventional lot, we found, was indeed cleaner, and even possessed a more solid structure. But it brought to mind a perfect but sterile construction with nobody home. Without sulfites, the same grapes offered up incredibly intricate aromatics full of mystery and soul. The difference reminded us of the extra dimensionality of flavor one finds in great unpasteurized French cheeses.
. The 2004 vintage, like its predecessors, has shown itself remarkably stable.Intriguingly, each bottle represents a different experience. Although there may be slightly more bottle variation than with sulfited wines, the wine never fails to bring delight – Ben Franklin’s “proof that God loves us and desires us to be happy.” We find that this type of wine is extremely resonant with its environment, reflecting the surroundings in which it is consumed and the moods of the people present.
This grape has very tight clusters and does poorly in humid climes like France, preferring high altitude where dry air and high UV suppress mold. It is widely planted in Austria and is the principal red grape of the Czech Republic, where it is known by its German name, Sankt Laurent.
It really is like no other wine. You will find extremely dense, soft tannins supporting generous mulberry fruit which you might easily mistake for Gamay Noir except for its lingering basil aftertaste that reminds me of Carmenère.
Clark talks about the 2014 Saint Laurent
For geeky tech sheet Click Here
This grape has very tight clusters and does poorly in humid climes like France, preferring high altitude where dry air and high UV suppress mold. It is widely planted in Austria and is the principal red grape of the Czech Republic, where it is known by its German name, Sankt Laurent. It matures very early, near the martyrdom date of Saint Lawrence of Rome, who was executed by Emperor Valerian on August 10 of the year 258 AD. This early harvest date is ideal for the short seasons of cool continental climates, resulting low alcohol. 2014 was a cold year, so there is more acidity and palate life here than the previous vintage, and the nose is brighter.
The addition of well-seasoned French oak in the fermenter helps extract and stabilize color and provides whiskey lactone, an aromatic lifting element.
It really is like no other wine. You will find extremely dense, soft tannins supporting generous mulberry fruit which you might easily mistake for Gamay Noir except for its lingering basil aftertaste that reminds me of Carmenère. There is no better example of the postmodern winemaking principle of aromatic integration. The wine is actually full of pyrazines, yet does not smell like bell pepper, and only expresses them in the character of sort of Eastern European personality: generous and friendly but slightly cynical.
As a result, the wine is more complex and intriguing than a simple picnic wine, but is certainly suitable for an outing in some summer meadow with a basket full of chicken and three-bean salad. Its tannins have no edge at all, so it handles considerable acidity with grace, equally at home with lean flank steak, paella, sushi, venison and quail and is magic with my Swedish meatballs, doused in a morel / porcini cream sauce with a dash of Marsala.
Our first release from the Pierce family’s extraordinary Ishi Pishi vineyard in northern Humboldt County. Pat and Joachim Pierce are talented organic growers skilled in grapes and other crops nestled in a sheltered clearing surrounded by forested mountains with a rich red clayey loam soil which produces full ripeness at low brix. Their skills and the site’s perfect characteristics produce wines of unrivaled density and integrity which preserve themselves without sulfites and in time produce wines astonishing complexity and depth that age well.
19% Cabernet Sauvignon
12% Petit Verdot
3% Cabernet Franc
For geeky tech sheet Click Here
Diamond Ridge Vineyards is located at the southeast corner of Clear Lake in Lake County. This remarkable site enjoys a cooling lake effect due to its close proximity to water. Its 2,000-foot altitude and clean, traffic-free air allow the sun bathe its fifteen clones of Cabernet Sauvignon in high UV, resulting in brilliant color, firm tannins and rich fruit aromas. Clone 10 is slow to ripen and holds surprising acidity and is characterized by back cherry, cocoa, and sweet anise aromas.
The vineyard’s stony volcanic soil imparts energetic mineral energy and surprising longevity. Accordingly, the wine was allowed 60 months in 20-year old neutral French oak which developed seductive tobacco nuances greatly enhanced its complexity, adding elements of mysterious and intriguing “come hither” aromatics.
The structure and framework is firm, while the entry and mid-palate delight with a rich, generous base wine of soft round tannins and a sweet core of cassis.
After an initial release in 2010, we elected to hold back six barrels for additional aging totaling 78 months in neutral cooperage, which greatly enhanced its complexity, adding elements of mysterious and intriguing “come hither” aromatics.
I have a hard time getting my French gurus to take Zinfandel seriously. They don’t judge wine by the fruity aromatics, which abound in many California Zins. They want the wine to behave itself in the mouth. Because Zinfandel ripens unevenly, with green berries and raisins on the same cluster, its texture is brash and grainy.
Ibo Tejada is a sort of buddha – fun to be around. His deep roots in the culture of his native Spain inform his choices as a man of the Earth. It requires great attention to detail to grow grapes of this quality organically, and he is committed to fine-tuning his few acres nestled in a mountain glen. He employs no herbicides or pesticides, and his vines’ deep roots and the living soil he nurtures allow him to avoid irrigation. He is also a skilled contractor who built a 15-room ranch house for his crew. Naturally, he grows the grape of his native Rioja.
Diamond Ridge is located in a sunny high altitude site with rocky granitic soils which force Cabernet Franc to put its energy into pushing its roots down into the rock, resulting in a lively mineral energy in the wine’s finish.These conditions develop good color and firm but refined tannins which impart amazing age-worthiness.
Because of its proximity to Clear Lake, the site is also blessed with a “lake effect” -- a daily visit from the cooling breezes off this deep body of water, largest in the State. The consequence is that the plum and cinnamon aromas the grape develops are conserved. The combination of rich fruit aromatics, firm tannin structure and lively minerality make this among the most complete and collectible expressions of Cabernet Franc in the New World.
William Younger’s “Gods, Men and Wine” offers compelling evidence that the 1,000 year Roman winemaking tradition did not involve sulfites, and we have been exploring with this ancient winemaking tradition since 2001, finding it well suited to high altitude Cab Franc from volcanic soils. These wines seem to take care of themselves very well without added preservatives, offering up incredibly intricate aromatics full of mystery and soul. The difference reminds us of the extra flavor dimensionality one finds in the great unpasteurized French cheeses.
Remarkably stable, these wines require extensive barrel age and reward further cellaring. You will want to decant and breathe prior to serving and will improve for several days after opening. Although suitable for current consumption with pork and cherries or grilled duck breast, this is really a collector’s wine which will benefit substantially from a few years in the cellar.