Because we firmly believe in the concept of terroir, (a French term used to describe the location and environmental influences affecting grape quality), and the virtues of growing and farming vineyards from our own land, we approach our wines differently from the conventional method in California. This is why, among many differences, we are committed to meticulous biotic farming with our own full time crew and the building of our vineyard soils through mineral balancing rather than systemic fertilization. As a vineyard-centric producer, we acknowledge the singularity of our terroir demands this treatment and ultimately results in wines that truly reflect their individual climats.
In a similar and symbiotic manner, we have embraced and dedicated ourselves to following traditional Burgundian methods in the winery. These proven, old world techniques include employing only wild yeasts in the cellar; using oak conservatively yet deliberately; fermenting in porous concrete and oak puncheons rather than stainless steel; using sulphur only during post fermentation; and investing in only the finest oak barrels and custom made, large scale Foudres.
Inspired by our unique clay soils mixed with ocean sediments, various vineyard sun aspects and orientations, and our ‘refrigerated-sunlight’ microclimate, we are fully committed to our unique and special location here in the Sta. Rita Hills of Santa Barbara Wine Country. It is this knowledge that motivates us to produce singularly compelling and thought-provoking wines that will pair well with food and age gracefully.
All red wines are processed separately by block, relying entirely upon native yeast for fermentation. Following Burgundian tradition, we use large four ton open-top concrete fermenters that are neither lined inside nor jacketed on the outside. In the case of all our Gamay production, we use similar concrete fermenters but they are closed-top concrete tanks, enabling carbonic fermentation. Pied de Cuves are employed on all fermentations to maximize indigenous yeast from the field. Wines are fermented entirely as whole berry and from 25 -100% as whole-cluster depending on the vintage and block. Wines are then gently pressed and transferred to 20% new French barrel for 14 months to further flavor development while retaining freshness. They are bottled in December the following year.
All chardonnays are also fermented entirely as native yeast. Prior to pressing, the grapes are crushed on the crush pad, then pressed dirty and transferred overnight to tank to settle. The next day they are moved to barrel for fermentation in 25% new barrique, puncheon and 15 HL (Hectoliter) Foudre with the 75% remaining as neutral vessels. The wines are not stirred and they are allowed to go through 100% malolactic fermentation. They come out of barrel to tank 15 months later in early Spring the following year and then bottled in March or April.