2012 Laura’s Cuvée White Wine
I decided to make this white wine blend for 2 reasons. First, and most importantly, Laura is my mother. She is the passionate white wine lover in the family, so I wanted to make a wine for her. I can’t put into words how lucky I feel to have a Mom like mine. Secondly, I have always had an interest in the white wines made in the Rhone valley of France. Famously noted for its hearty reds, the Rhone region also produces a relatively small quantity of very distinctive whites. Many of these white wines contain Roussane and/or Marsanne as major components.
You get something unique with these wines, aromatically and texturally. In the nose you often sense honeycomb, orange peel, flowers (like Jasmine), nectarine and other stone fruits. The mid palate offers similar flavors but also a pleasant oily texture which creates richness. These wines often age quite beautifully.
Tasting Notes:The 2012 Laura’s Cuvee is a brilliant pale gold. The aromatics feature a beautiful mélange of orange marmalade, nectarine, honeycomb and white flowers. In the mouth, the wine is rich with distinctive peach and apricot flavors with notes of orange zest. The rich mouth-feel is balanced by juicy acidity, which also helps focus the long finish.
2012 Bennett Valley Chardonnay
I purchased the Chardonnay fruit for this wine from good friend and customer Brett Raven, owner of Frostwatch Vineyards and Winery in Bennett Valley. Brett was the Cellar Master at Ramey Wine Cellars for 4 years (before planting his own vineyard and starting a label) and he really knows his Chardonnay. He lives with his family on his vineyard and he farms it meticulously and obsessively. Bennett Valley is a relatively new appellation in Sonoma County. It is consistently windy and regularly enshrouded in cooling fog. It is one of Sonoma County cooler climates despite being a bit more inland, south and east of the town of Santa Rosa.
Tasting Notes:Beautiful pale yellow/gold. Aromas of Meyer lemon, pear and lightly toasted brioche bread emerge from the glass. Tangy, mineral infused flavors of lemon, pear and pit fruits caress the palate. A core of ample acidity keeps the mouthfeel refreshing and focuses the long finish. 75 cases made.
2013 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
I purchased the Chardonnay fruit for this wine from Campbell Ranch Vineyard in Annapolis, CA. This vineyard is located about as far west and north as you can go in Sonoma County… right up near the Mendocino County boarder. Campbell Ranch is farmed by the legendary Ulises Valdez whose meticulous attention to detail and quality helps each vineyard he works with reach its true potential. Campbell Ranch is a cold, windy site for sure and the fruit lends itself to a more energetic, crisp and mineral driven style of Chardonnay with excellent depth and complexity.
Beautiful pale yellow/gold. Aromas of meyer lemon, pear and lightly toasted brioche bread emerge from the glass. Tangy, mineral infused flavors of lemon, pear and pit fruits caress the palate. A core of ample acidity keeps the mouthfeel refreshing and focuses the long finish. 100 cases made.
2013 Rosé of Pinot Noir
Once again, the juice that went into this year’s Rose came from some rock-star Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley Pinot Noir vineyards, each one farmed and cared for meticulously. The juice sat with the skins for about 1-2 hours after the grapes were de-stemmed. Then it was “bled off” into neutral oak barrels for a long, cold fermentation. The wine remained in barrel on the lees for about 5 months before bottling in late January. The wine is bone dry with most of the secondary fermentation inhibited.
Tasting Notes: The color is a bright pink with a beautiful purple hue. Aromas and flavors of fresh picked strawberries, watermelon, crushed cranberry. Zingy, refreshing flavors of tart red berry and kiwi. Barrel fermentation provides a wonderful mouth-filling texture. 125 cases made.
2013 W.E. Bottoms Pinot Noir
Our oldest source for Pinot Noir fruit is the W.E. Bottoms Vineyard. This very small, 3 acre vineyard is located near the quaint town of Occidental in one of the cooler parts of the appellation. The ocean breezes and persistent marine layer keep the area cool and the vines happy. The vineyard is unique because it is planted at a 4 x 4 density to four different Dijon clones. Most vineyards today are planted at 5’ x 8’. Higher density planting keeps the vines in balance (not too vigorous, not too stressed) and the different clones add to the complexity of the finished wines. Finally, we must not underestimate the importance of soil. The Goldridge fine sandy loam found at the vineyard site is very well drained. This keeps vine vigor down and concentrates flavors in the grapes.
Tasting Notes:Ruby red. Cranberry, black raspberry, anise and underbrush are just some of the aromas that emerge with swirling. There is a hint of cinnamon too. The mouthfeel is very lively and bright with a mix of flavors including raspberries, blueberries and pomegranate with subtle mushroom and earthy/soil undertones. There is a mouthwatering dusting of fine, ripe tannins that coat the palate on the finish. 100 cases made.
2013 Celia’s Cuvée Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir, like no other variety, conveys a sense of place when grown and produced properly. Certainly wines from specific plots justify, even demand, their own bottlings. I certainly love that about Pinot Noir. With that in mind, I asked…”What would it be like to blend together the wines from 2-3 special spots?” This is not a novel idea, I know, but I’ve always wanted to try my hand at it to see if I could put together something exciting.
Enter the 2012 vintage of the Celia’s Cuvée Pinot Noir. The cuvée this year is a blend of wines from three special and distinct vineyards in the Sonoma Coast appellation, all rock star vineyards in their own right. Two of the vineyards in the blend we source for our single vineyard wines: W.E. Bottoms and Umino. The third vineyard, Campbell Ranch, is located in the far northwest corner of the Sonoma Coast appellation near the tiny town of Annapolis, just 5 miles away from the Pacific Ocean. The 2012 Celia’s Cuvée is all about the cool Sonoma Coast. The earth and cool spice of these coastal vineyards shine through, along with concentrated and intense red berry flavors. I think all the elements work together quite nicely. I’m very happy with the final blend and I hope you have fun drinking it!
Last but not least, this wine is an homage to my late grandmother Celia, who spent 98 years on this wonderful planet. She was sharp as a tack right up till the end. She was and still is an inspirational role model for all of us grandkids.
Tasting Notes:Brilliant ruby red. Aromas of Asian spices, black current, cherry and underbrush. The wine has a plush texture due to the ample but rounded out tannins. Flavors match the nose with a nice backbone of acidity to provide lift and energy to the palate. The finish lingers soft but with ample acidity to render the wine refreshingly mouthwatering. 125 cases made.
2013 Umino Vineyard Pinot Noir
David Umino is a third generation farmer who took a 33 year detour as a Forensic Metallurgist. In the late 90s, he decided to return to his quest for a life of peace and independence as a farmer. David grew up on a truck farm in the tiny central San Joaquin Valley town of Orosi. Included in the many varieties of fruits and vegetables his family grew was a vineyard planted to Thompson Seedless, which was probably the early catalyst for his love of vineyards.
David now lives on his 11 acre vineyard in the Sebastopol Hills, one of the coolest spots in the Sonoma Coast region for growing Pinot Noir. He planted the vineyard in 1997 to 3 Dijon clones, 115, 777, 667 and a relatively rare clone 459. Dave is one of the most passionate, dedicated farmers I’ve met. He lives on the property and does most of the farming work.
The wines made from David’s vineyard are intensely aromatic, bright and lively. Two words come to mind when I think about Umino Vineyard Pinot Noir… energetic cherries.
Tasting notes:Vivid red/purple. Simply gorgeous color. The nose jumps right out of the glass with fresh crushed cherry and raspberry dominating, but also with some cool blue fruits and earthy incense. The mouthfeel is very lively and bright with a mix of currants, raspberries, blueberries and pomegranate. There is a pleasant cherry skin essence to the lingering finish which, in combination with the wine’s natural acidity, calls for food. 150 cases made.