Our debut wine is a single vineyard offering from the western edge of Sonoma Coast's Green Valley, farmed by Charlie Chenoweth. We were fortunate to source 2.03 total tons of Calera, 115, Pommard, and Elite clones planted on both 101-14 and 420A rootstocks. The vineyard, on its fifth leaf, brought surprising acidity while becoming fully ripe. This speaks to the vineyard site on Occidental Road, which sees more fog than direct sunlight, and is ideal for the kind of wines we aim to make. More savory than the 2014, we are excited for this to be our first wine out of the gate.
The 2014 growing season was another of low rainfall on the Sonoma Coast. The vines again awoke early from their winter dormancy leading us to an early harvest. The Riddle Vineyard is located on Stoetz Lane just Northeast of Occidental, where we source fruit from 2 blocks. The first pick is always clone 115, which is planted on the steepest section of the vineyard. Generally, we pull in the Pommard clone block two weeks later and the quantities of each are usually comparable.
The 2013 Sonoma Coast was picked at first light and destemmed into 4 fermenters to keep the clones separate. The Elite clone showed the most stem and racchis lignification, so we pulled out 20% of it to ferment whole cluster. Half of the wines were fermented without yeast addition, the other half were inoculated with commercial yeast strains. The wines were aged in 100% once used French oak (Francois Freres, Taransaud, Billon), and spent 15 months in barrel. Pre-bottling, we had four barrels of wine and chose to bottle three of them. The wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered.
The Riddle fruit was picked at night and arrived early and cold to the winery. We included a small amount of whole cluster (approximately 15%) in the 115 fermentation. These clusters were hand-sorted, then layered on the bottom of the small 1.5 ton tank. We hand-sorted and destemmed the remaining 115 on top of the whole bunches. The Pommard fruit was 100% destemmed. The small tanks were placed in a cold room for 5 days and punched down by hand once per day. Native fermentation was started by warming up the tanks, during which time the ferments are punched down 2-3 times daily at ambient temperature. Based on taste, the wine was pressed and barreled into 20% new Remond Allier French oak and left on its lees until just prior to bottling. Time in barrel was 11 months. The wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered.