We believe the winemaker should be as comfortable in the vineyard as the winegrower is at home in the cellar. We focus on the vineyard in lieu of being manipulative in the winery so that our wines truly express what the site and vintage offer.
We make the best wine possible according to what each site dictates.
Just as we match rootstock, clone, vineyard layout and farming practices with each site to produce optimal fruit, we also adapt our winemaking techniques to highlight that fruit.
We select and learn the subtleties of each of our sites as a team.
After more than a decade of working in the vineyard and the cellar together, we have developed a methodology for exploring new sites and farming familiar ones. We rely on each other’s judgment and find that, over the years, the question marks are greatly reduced. Picking decisions are made mutually and dictated by fruit quality, not logistics.
Each winemaking decision is tailor-made for each lot of fruit.
Our hand-picked, hand-sorted fruit is sorted again at the winery. We cold soak the fruit from four to six days to extend time on the skins under less extractive conditions, i.e., cool temperatures and no alcohol content. Native yeasts slow and lengthen fermentations and create greater complexity.
We use either punching down the cap or pumping over. Pumping over is the gentler “trickle-down” extraction technique. Both techniques help to maintain temperature uniformity within the tank. As we progress more deeply into a given fermentation, we’re constantly deciding about which technique to use. The question being: is there more to get, or are we approaching the limit? The answer differs with each lot.
Extended maceration is another gentle way to extract. We stop cap manipulation, close the tank and just let the wine be, allowing the warmth and alcohol level to continue the process. Again, how long depends on the grapes.
Our Chardonnays are whole clustered pressed and fermented in small oak barrel.
Our Pinot Noirs are pure free run; the press cut is sold off.
Oak is an easy variable; like salt on food, it must enhance, not mask.
We prefer oak with tight or extra tight grain and light- to medium-toasted barrels. Our Pinot Noirs stay on the yeast lees their entire time in barrel. We stir Chardonnay lees bi-weekly for the first 3 months of the wine in barrel. Then we select the best barrels just prior to bottling.