GATE 2013 Russian River Valley Chardonnay
Sourced from two sites just inland from the last ridge of sandy, ocean windswept hilltops that march towards the coast. Where the rich river run soils meet the leaner soils of the coastal ridges, and the inland summer sun ripens the fruit while the reaches of marine layer fogs cool the fruit at night. Old California clone Chardonnay grown next to heritage plantings of apples, the original crop for this area. High notes of citrus rind, crushed white and yellow spring flowers and fresh grilled stonefruit. A full yet well structured body, laced with fresh vibrant natural acidity. Balanced. Earthen notes in the background of the nose resurface in the finish, which is long, and lingering. Natural acids. Native fermentation. Cellared 11 months sur lie in Francois Frères cooperage, 25% new.
2012 King's Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
A new site for us, a small patch of Pinot Noir I found in the midst of a sea of Chardonnay plantings on the lifted ancient sandy plains wanderings of the Russian River. A diamond in the rough. An elegant bottling, that displays the delicate side of the varietal. Redder in its tones and profiles (in comparison to the Vadim's bluer tones) but without the sometimes clumsy and overly extracted/tannic characters that can often show in Pinot Noirs from the appellation. As with all of our wines, we tend to pick early, before the fruit gains too much concentration on the vine. I like to approach the point of balance from the front end, letting the wine gain depth in barrel. This wine offers a glimpse into the nuances allowed by such an approach, and is a site specific bottling I am very excited about. Crushed rose petals, fresh sliced red fleshed fruit tones, a slight dustiness on the nose that will evolve to more forest floor like tones over time. A luxurious mid-weight yet well structured mouthfeel. I am eager to make subsequent vintages of this wine. It's a special little spot, and a special wine. Native yeast fermentation. Only free run juice used, no pressing. Aged in 20% newer French Oak, sur lie for 16 months.
2012 GATE Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc
The newest addition to our GATE lineup of wines, an appellation focused series of bottlings. One layer above site, and vintage, are the indicators of the regional characters in any given wine. The wines in the series represent my look into the appellations of the North Coast, those north of the golden gate. They are made in the exact same fashion as our site specific Kesner bottlings. In 2012 I found a site in the Oak Knoll area in the southern Napa Valley that supplies a number of vineyard specific grade bottlings. I've long been drawn to certain tones in Sauvignon Blanc...Wet minerals, grapefruit rind, lychee. You will find all of those in this bottling, but with the addition of just enough body to make it a wine that will actually carry through a meal. We picked early, as we do, and so it has wonderful acids. Barrel fermented in predominantly used barrels, as opposed to stainless, but it's neither heavy nor cloying as a result. The added texture comes from the rather extended barrel aging, with no stirring of the lees, so as not to disturb the delicate esters and aromatics. Native yeast fermentation. Fermented and aged sur lie for 16 months in French Oak, only 25% of it new.
2012 Rockbreak Sonoma Coast Chardonnay-
The fruit for this wine hails from a vineyard that was planted in part for us in Southern Sonoma County at the Idell Family Vineyard. The site is driven by a coastal influence, but one that washes over a soil series that includes enough ancient river run cobble to break any farming implement that dare try to tame it. Hints of spring flowers interwoven with a steely sulfide component, and wet rocks dominate the nose. Tones of lightly grilled Meyer lemons and fresh creme. A medium-full yet crisp body, with more pronounced, seamlessly integrated citrus like acids than are typical for California Chardonnays. All leads to the paradoxical finish. It lies full, yet lifted on the palate. I knew there was a reason I was drawn to this site and every vintage has rewarded me following my instincts. Fermented and aged in 15% newer French Oak sur lie for 16 months.
2012 Vadim's Watch Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Terra De Promissio Vineyard. This vintage reminds me a lot of our 2009 bottling, which I stated at the time was the best wine I had made to date. Read into that what you will (don't ask me to pick my favorite child, but I love this wine!). It represents in my mind the perfect natural balance of a cool site Pinot Noir. This vineyard has the remarkable ability to provide depth in the glass, without any sense whatsoever of being over extracted, and it retains the feminine, delicate aromatics and characters of the varietal. Brimming with perfumed fruit tones of red and black raspberry, blueberry, pomegranate. Light spices with a hint of briar patch and redwood forest floor. Full in the mouth, speaking of primary fruit with an impeccable, vibrant acidity. A wonderfully balanced, structured wine with a lasting finish. Will reward further aging all the while being very approachable early on with some time in the glass. Native yeast fermentation. Only free run juice used, no pressing. Aged in 30% newer French Oak sur lie for 16 months.
2012 Bacigalupi Vineyard Russian River Chardonnay
Our third vintage from this long heralded site. The same family has been farming the land since the late 1950's, and they learned what worked and what didn't a long time ago. Heritage California clone chardonnay, on St. George rootstock planted in the red sandy soils in the hills west of the river. It consistently yields a wine that gives a nod to classic Californian chardonnays, but with structure, and lively acids due to us picking a touch on the early side of things. Beautiful, refined tones of golden stonefruit and an underlying sense of minerality, with a hint of whey. Mouth filling presence, that deftly toes the line between body and structure, with a vibrancy that resonates through its luxurious, long lasting finish. Native yeast fermentation. Aged in 30% newer French Oak sur lie for 16 months.
2012 Alder Springs Vineyard Chardonnay
Located two hours due north of Sonoma County in the wilds of Mendocino lies Alder Springs Vineyard. Perched on a mountainside, our fruit is grown at 2400 feet in elevation with nary another vineyard in sight for 40 miles. The most "austere" of our Chardonnays and if anything is at the front of the glass it is the subtlety and the refined nature of the fruit in this wine. I added the ""'s because for those of you who know it, the wine despite its proclivity for being elegant in the nose, is no shrinking violet. We pick earlier than most all of our neighbors at Alder and the result is this crisp young bottling, that despite its acids, is not without weight. Greener than it is gold in its character. Nose and mouth driven by hints of green stonefruit flesh, citrus blossom, lemongrass and flint. Native yeast fermentation. Fermented and aged in French Oak, 25% of it new, sur lie for 16 months.
2012 Blustone North Coast Red Wine
A wine of balance and restraint relative to "traditional" Zinfandel. More pliant and open than the 2011 vintage. Comprised of mostly old vine Zinfandel but includes as well the other field mixed blacks often interplanted in these wonderful pre turn of the century sites that dot the north coast. Dense, wild, black and purple fruited tones, dried herbs, white pepper and hints of iron, wild sage and wild fennel. The perfumed nose and well structured finish provide a pleasing tension as they bracket the dark fruit core middle of the wine. A wine made to accompany food (as was the original intent behind these older plantings). Native fermentation in an open topped fermenter, whole berries. No pressing of the fruit, only free run juice used. Natural acids. Native fermentation. Cellared 18 months sur lie in Francois Frères cooperage, 30% new.
2012 Old Vines Grenache North Coast
We've purposefully targeted the more elegant, feminine nature of Grenache. There's something pretty special there when it isn't treated as a big California red wine. Hails from vines over 80 years old. Picked early, with bright natural acids and dusty tannins that soften and integrate via a longer barrel aging program. Will cellar well, and some aging is suggested. High tones of spring red blossoms, wild raspberry brambles and deep plump strawberry. A wonderfully expressive nose, that leads to a well wound red fruited core, resonating with markers of fruit derived acids and light, dusty tannins. Lingering, resonant finish. Natural acids. Native fermentation. Cellared 18 months sur lie in Francois Frères cooperage, 0% new.
GATE 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Two sites lend their coastal characters to this effort. Both buffeted by the seaborne cooling winds and fogs of the Pacific, planted on ancient coastal soils and selected for their regional personalities. Cool climate Pinot Noir that retains all of the beauty of the varietal. A bit more forward, and elegant than the 2012. Perfume of pomegranate, fresh picked red and black raspberries and lightly crushed violets. Background hints of redwood forest floor, and an ever so slight reminiscence of graphite shavings. Well structured, with natural acids that are perfectly integrated and that lend a great backbone to this wine. Elegant, lengthy, silken finish. Natural acids. Native fermentation. Cellared 11 months sur lie in Francois Frères cooperage, 25% new.