When I first made this wine in 2019, I was walking the vineyard sampling the fruit before harvest and had never tasted Pinot Noir grapes with such concentrated and powerful flavors. I knew that this Pinot Noir and subsequent Pinots made from Duvarita Vineyard were going to be noteworthy wines. Because of the concentration of fruit, I ferment the Pinot Noir 100% whole cluster. In doing so, the beautiful red fruit characteristics of this Pinot are seamlessly integrated with herbaceous and savory notes giving this Pinot depth and complexity on the nose and palate. To me, this is what makes Pinot Noir a nuanced and interesting wine both to both make and enjoy. Our 2020 Duvarita Vineyard Pinot Noir is polished and beautiful, all the while rugged and refined.
It is such an honor to have the opportunity to work with Brook Williams to produce Chardonnay from his biodynamic vineyard, Duvarita. The challenges that they face with sandy soils, winds that sweep through the vineyard, the heavy fog off the coast, and cool temperatures make this vineyard a challenge for any farmer. These challenges coupled with Brook’s unwavering commitment to biodynamic practices make Duvarita Vineyard extremely low yielding in its crop but luckily the fruit that these vines produce has a depth of character and uniqueness that makes them truly special. I’m fascinated by the complexity of our 2020 vintage. Reminiscent of the iconic regions of France, our Chardonnay offers ample fruit but also a saline minerality; savory notes and a textural richness, that made me fall in love with Chardonnay from the classic producers many years ago.
My goal with the Mélange Rouge is to make the best wine possible with the wide array of grape varieties and vineyard sources used to craft this blend. While the components of this wine change from vintage to vintage, the thought process remains the same. It is so fascinating to bring in grapes from very different climatic regions and see how contrasting the same varieties can be grown in different areas. For instance, by using Syrah and Grenache vineyards in cool climate regions we see the more herbaceous, savory characteristics of these varieties, the warmer climate vineyards produce the rich black fruit of Syrah and the classic bright red fruit of Grenache. By blending these same but very different components, my idea is to get the best of both worlds. I love the process of blending and crafting this wine each year, using the contrasting nuances and striking similarities of each variety to make the best wine we see possible year in and year out.
This is such an exciting wine for me to make. The uniqueness of each of the four varieties in this Rhône white blend allow me to craft a wine with layer upon layer of complexity both on the nose and the palate. The Viognier contributes to the beautiful floral and tropical fruit aromatics, also offering a richness to the wine. Grenache Blanc provides the acid backbone and beautiful notes of white flowers and stone fruit. The weight and texture of our 2019 Mélange Blanc comes from the Marsanne and Roussanne and they provide the mouth coating texture, rich nuttiness, and creamy roundness that makes this wine so enjoyable to drink slowly and ponder. This is why I love Rhône white wines, complex, thought provoking and a pleasure to drink.