Roark Grenache Blanc 2018
Story from winemaker Ryan Roark:
“In 2018 I leased a four-acre plot on a big cattle ranch in Foxen Canyon. The vines are about 20 years old and originally it was all syrah. About 6-8 years ago they grafted some of it over to refosco, chenin blanc and grenache blanc. The vineyard sits in an area near some big trees where two different creeks converge. The vines are super happy here and have not been watered in over ten years. They regularly produce a nice, balanced crop.
Having not worked with grenache blanc much I did a handful of different fermentations to have a bit of fun and edify myself a bit. I knew I didn't want super bland, neutral white wine nor did I want full orange wine style. We harvested the fruit .5 ton to 1 ton at a time harvesting about 3 tons over 4-5 picks. Each one we did a bit different. Some direct to press and one batch on the skins for 2 weeks.
We kept a barrel of the first and last pick aside, they were both direct to press and the "natty" wine we tried was the blend of all the experiments.
The vineyard had been historically farmed pretty conventionally but we only used organic fungicides and only sprayed four times. A small amount of sulfur was used at the press and haven't added any since. When we rack it for bottling it will get a bump. Most was fermented in tank and then transferred to barrel afterwards.”
Tatomer Kick-on Ranch “Clone 239” Riesling 2018
Story from winemaker Graham Tatomer
“Have you ever seen Star Trek? It’s too bad if you haven’t. There are several episodes of The Next Generation that illustrate that the space-time continuum allows for almost infinite parallel universes. Given that with any choice, “every” choice is made somewhere, in some universe. Let me ask you then, in which universe was there award-winning Pinot Noir in the ground? 94+ point Pinot Noir! That was grafted over to Riesling. The answer is only one, OURS.
Kick-on Ranch is a small vineyard located to the northwest of Sta. Rita Hills in California. It is one of the coldest and windiest sites in Santa Barbara County. The soil is Betteravia Sandy Loam. My section sits on a mild southwest facing hill. This aspect helps expose the vines to the cold air flowing off the Pacific Ocean. This cold air allows me to get a long hang-time while avoiding too much Botrytis. These grapes are free of any rot or sun damage. They are hand sorted in the vineyard itself! This new section shows how passionate the owner, Steve Lyons is about Riesling, pedigree, and having the best of something. No one asked Steve to graft his Pinot to Riesling. He simply overheard me rambling on how there was no more good Riesling to be had in Santa Barbara. I had what I had at Kick-on Ranch, and the rest was sold out. In fact, there was a long line to buy it in 2014 when I was rambling. Steve took it upon himself to offer me a once in a lifetime opportunity. To graft Pinot Noir to a Riesling clone of my choice. I picked up the phone and called Weingut Knoll in Austria. They said that if they had to choose one, it would unquestionably be Geisenheim clone 239. Done and done.
The next chapter of the journey begins with this wine. This is the first fruit off the parcel, and it has a bright, bright future.”
A Tribute to Grace “Otis” Grenache 2018
Story from winemaker Angela Osborne
“The Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard. From the ‘Mesa Norte’ block, a 9.5 acre planting to Grenache clone Tablas A, we harvested this fruit on Otis’ 6 month and 6 day birthday. At 3500 feet elevation, the soil here is a combination of decomposed granite and clay loam, with large rocks of schist, quartzite, basalt and gneiss. And reminds me greatly of what I imagine the moon to look like.
Thanks to the beautifully steady temperatures at the Highlands during the 2018 growing season, we were able to utilise 78% whole cluster inclusion for this ferment. To me, stem inclusion imparts aromatic earth notes in the family of sandalwood, rosewood, and amber, which historically frame my very favourite Grenache bottlings. Fermentation was native, and I foot-tread twice daily throughout the 16 day fermentation. Secondary fermentation was spontaneous, and in barrel. The wine was racked once under July’s new moon of 2018, and bottled three weeks later.”
Desparada Chameleon “Solera” Cabernet Sauvignon 2013-2016
Story from winemaker Vailia Esh
“Solera is defined as aging fractional portions of wine multiple years, with the average age increasing over time. The wine is moved each year so that the oldest wine is on the bottom of the barrel. Solera actually means on the ground in Spanish. I have been doing this with Cabernet since 2013 with only my favorite Cabernet barrels from each of my sites. I had no real plans in the beginning as what I was going to do with it or when I was going to release it. This is the first year I really felt the wine was coming together the way I had visioned it would. I may still continue to add through the 2020 vintage, but this one barrel we pinched off for this special bottling is gorgeous.”
Field Recordings “Zabala” Syrah 2018
Story from winemaker Andrew Jones
“In late August of 2018 I had to go to France to see my colleagues from the grapevine nursery in the south of France. We import all of the grapevine material we propagate at the nursery from France’s grapevine library just south of Montpellier. Think of it as having that show dog with an insane pedigree, but for us it’s a certain type of Cabernet or Syrah vine.
Beyond studying grapevines at the library, we spent a few days touring around with the agriculture extension advisors in other parts of the south of France. The highlight of those field trips was an excursion to the northern Rhone valley and specifically Crozes Hermitage. It’s the flat area across the river from the historical Hermitage vineyard on the hill. For the northern Rhone this is the workhorse wine production area. They only grow Syrah there and in the rocky, gravelly ground, it produces this rustic but refreshing table wine that I have become infatuated with ever since. The showier wines from the hills surrounding are also amazing, but I am looking to make wine that costs less than 40 bucks. I’m not the kind of guy to make trophy bottles.
The rocky flatlands really reminded me of the Arroyo Seco in Monterey and there is no vineyard in the region with less rock than the Zabala piece. Zabala is planted at the end of the Arroyo Seco area right where the old river bottom fans out. When we plant vineyards there we have to use digging bars rather than shovels to break up the rock to squeeze the vines into the ground. There is a small block of Syrah there that I always knew existed but had not had the wine before. I thought it would be worth a shot to see if they would pinch off a little fruit for me to try my hand at making this syrah that I had put on a pedestal.
We purchased a few bins of two separate clones from the block on the same day. The 470 was 2 full brix riper than the 174 and we thought they would compliment each other well. We kept ⅓ of the clusters intact and put them in a tank for a 7 day cold soak. After the chilling, we pumped the juice over only twice daily. I didn’t want to over extract the flavors. After a 3 week fermentation it went to barrel to rest until it was bottled June 30th without any fining and just a light filtration.”
Fabliest “Barrel #2” Tempranillo 2016
Story from winemaker Curt Schalchlin
“Fableist works with many great vineyard sources across the central coast that give us a great mix to create the best values in the wine market today. Over the years, though a few of these diamonds in the rough have started to shine so much that we thought they deserve to be bottled all alone.
Typically we blend our Tempranillo from three vineyard sources. Two in Paso and this lone little block at the Laetitia Vineyard in Arroyo Grande.
Not typically known as a source for tempranillo. The Laetitia VIneyard primarily grows Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This little 2 acres are really special. It is truly the limit of where you can grow this grape in comparison to the coast. The ocean lies just 4 miles away from the vineyard and we get an extreme maritime influence coming in every day over the Oceano Dunes.
We hand selected 2 second fill American Oak barrels to bottle the Laetitia Tempranillo by itself. Super velvety mouthfeel. Dark fruits. All around stud of a red wine. Ready to pair with protein.”