Winemaking

When asked what style of wine we make, the response is always ‘great wines’.  After we’ve all laughed, the real answer emerges. After almost 30 years of winemaking, we still firmly believe in a minimalist approach—allowing the wine to express itself and reflect the growing season through the nuances that appear from vintage to vintage. For this to happen and to produce those ‘great wines’, it is vital to pay attention to every detail; carefully attending to every step of the winemaking process, yet always with a light hand. We don’t over-extract or over-oak our wines. We give the wines the fermentation and aging environments that allow them to become exceptional—so we can smell and taste what the fruit has to offer us.

Consistency is another element to our style. We cold-soak all the grapes for two to four days before fermenting, use the same cultured yeast and same type of François Frères barrels for 11-12 months of oak aging for our Pinot Noirs and 12-17 months for our Zinfandels.

Our vineyard and clonal designates are all kept separate throughout the winemaking and aging process.  Midway through the aging process (usually around Spring) we taste through the barrels and blend the wines together to make the vineyard and Clonal designate wines.  Our winemaking team tastes through the wine in the barrels in order to determine which blend of clones and or vineyards allows the best flavors and nuances to show through.

What varies from year to year is how the growing season affects the flavor profile of the grapes. Our goal is to let the grapes speak through the finished wine. Those vintage differences are a piece of the charm in both winemaking and wine drinking.

Peace, Ben Papapietro
Winemaker