In 1883, C. H. Wente, a first-generation immigrant from Germany, purchased 47 acres in the Livermore Valley . Recognizing that the warm days, cool nights and gravelly soils of the Livermore Valley were ideal for growing grapes, he planted vines and founded Wente Vineyards. Over 130 years later, Wente Family Estates continue to be family owned and operated by the fourth and fifth generation Wente’s
“Sandstone” Merlot comes from a gently sloping formation of hills running along the southeastern corner of the historic Livermore Valley. With warm days, cool nights, well-drained sandstone soils, and incoming breezes from the San Francisco Bay, the Wente family’s hillside vineyards are an ideal place to grow outstanding Merlot.
The estate grown grapes that make up this wine – 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petite Sirah & 5% Petit Verdot – are fermented and aged separately in barrel for about a year before they are blended together and then aged for another 6 months. Although lighter in structure than a Cabernet Sauvignon, this Merlot combines solid, yet silky tannins with diverse fruit flavours to make a lasting impression.
Sandstone Merlot exhibits aromas and flavours of black cherry, blackberry and plum with hints of toasted oak. A smooth mouthfeel and inviting tannins lead to a long, fruity finish.
In 1883, C. H. Wente, a first-generation immigrant from Germany, purchased 47 acres in the Livermore Valley . Recognizing that the warm days, cool nights and gravelly soils of the Livermore Valley were ideal for growing grapes, he planted vines and founded Wente Vineyards. Over 130 years later, Wente Family Estates continue to be family owned and operated by the fourth and fifth generation Wente’s.
“Riva Ranch” Single Vineyard Pinot Noir is sourced exclusively from Wente’s vineyard in Arroyo Seco, Monterey. Arroyo Seco is an ideal region to grow Pinot Noir because of the long, cool growing season, which allows the grapes to fully ripen and develop deep fruit flavours. The gravelly-loam soils found here, rich with shale and limestone deposits, impart desirable earthy and mineral qualities to the wine. They grow 8 carefully selected Pinot Noir clones each adding different flavours, textures and aromatics to the wine.
2014 provided ideal growing conditions in Monterey with daily cycles of early morning fogs, warm afternoons, and cool nights which allowed the grapes to ripen then rest and for the flavours to fully develop.
This wine was fermented in small stainless steel tanks and pumped over twice daily to maximize the extraction of the aromas, flavours, and textures. Ageing was for 16 months in French oak barrels.
“Our Riva Ranch Single Vineyard Pinot Noir is a true and elegant expression of Monterey’s finest grapes. Our signature Pinot Noir comes from our estate grown, single vineyard in Arroyo Seco and showcases beautiful aromas and flavours of cherry and red apple with notes of black tea. The wine’s bright natural acidity gives way to a long, smooth finish.”
Established in 1969, Cuvaison produces Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown exclusively on its estate vineyard in the heart of the world-renowned region of Carneros in Napa Valley. Cooled by fog from the San Pablo Bay, the rolling hills of this certified sustainable estate have produced distinctive Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for over 30 years.
The Estate Pinot Noir is carefully crafted from 10 blocks of the Carneros estate vineyard. Each block is vinified separately using gentle techniques such as open top fermentation, gentle punch downs, basket pressing and oak maturation – 11 months in French oak barriques a third of which are new. All these elements are designed to preserve the wine’s delicacy and freshness.
“The Estate Pinot Noir is brimming with bright strawberry, raspberry and fresh cherry flavors made more intriguing with a subtle hint of allspice, persimmon and violet. The wine shimmers on the palate with vibrant acidity and round, graceful tannins.” – Winemaker, Steve Rogstad
Larry Turley and his winemakers Tegan Passalacqua and Karl Wicka produce great wines from some of California’s oldest, dry-farmed Zinfandel vineyards. They have managed to persuade the owners of some of California’s finest old vineyards to let them take total control of viticulture; farming organically, reducing yields to extremely low levels and picking very late.
Winemaking is gentle and totally unmanipulated, with very gentle extraction. Only natural yeasts are used in fermentation. The wines are matured for 14-16 months in 75% French, 25% American oak barrels (25% new) and bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Juvenile is made from young vines that have been replanted in several of Turley’s old vine sites. The vines that make up Juvenile range in age from about 6-25 years, and include fruit from several of their best vineyards across California, including Hayne, Ueberroth, Pesenti, Salvador, Vineyard 101, Fredericks and Kirschenmann.
Jim Clendenen, the “Mind Behind” Au Bon Climat, creates internationally recognized, Burgundian-focused wines of balance and intrigue – but in California.
Au Bon Climat’s Santa Maria Valley is a very approachable, fruit-forward Pinot. Lifted strawberry and raspberry aromas on the nose follow through to a palate that is full of juicy berry flavours and hints of spice and cloves. Not too hefty but with good balancing fresh acidity, gentle tannins and just a touch of Pinot spice and earthiness.
Eugene Trefethen and his wife Catherine purchased 600 acres in 1968 to create Trefethen Vineyards. At the time, there were fewer than 20 wineries in the Napa Valley which put the Trefethens in a small group of wine families dedicated to a vision of crafting world class wines from Napa Valley. Their first wine was released in 1973 and at the 1979 Gault Millau World Wine Olympics, their 1976 Chardonnay won “Best Chardonnay in the World”.
Rich fruit, crafted in an elegant, age-worthy manner are the hallmarks of the Trefethen style. The third generation is now active with Loren and Hailey poised to put their generation’s stamp on the Trefethen motto of ‘One Family, One Estate, One Passion.’
45% Malbec, 35% Petit Verdot & 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, “Dragon’s Tooth” is a reminder of the Trefethen family’s Welsh origins with the red dragon of Wales on the label. The wine is from new plantings of Malbec and Petit Verdot from the rockiest part of the vineyard.
This powerful blend is almost completely opaque in appearance with a nose full of sweet fruit (cherry and blueberries) with hints of cinnamon and smoky spice. The palate is very big and soft with warm spice and toasty oak flavours giving way to a long, chocolatey finish. Malbec brings a mix of fruits, Petit Verdot adds colour and structure & Cabernet Sauvignon offers dark fruits and elegance.
A wine that definitely needs to be decanted or given several hours to “breathe” before drinking.
Ridge has made the Geyserville as a single-site Zinfandel in every year since 1966. The grapes are grown in three adjoining vineyards on a defined stretch of gravelly soil approximately one-and-a-quarter miles long and a half-mile wide located on the western edge of the Alexander Valley, Sonoma County.
The youngest vines are 10 years old and the oldest over 120 years. 65% of the vines are in excess of 45 years old.
The blend of the 2016 Geyserville is 73% Zinfandel, 17% Carignane, 7% Petite Sirah, 3% Alicante Bouschet
The sustainably farmed, hand-harvested estate-grown grapes were destemmed and crushed. Fermentation was with native yeasts, followed by full malolactic. Ageing was for 12 months in American oak barrels – 20% new, the balance 1-4 years old.
Winemakers tasting note:
Deep ruby in colour. Plum and black cherry fruit aromas, mint, and gravelly earth. Ripe bramble fruit on entry, balanced acidity, and elegant tannins. Long finish.
In 1972, Ridge made its first Lytton Springs from vines planted on the eastern half of the vineyard at the turn of the century. Both the eastern and western portions of the vineyard were purchased in the early 1990s, and Lytton Springs, in Sonoma County, became part of the Ridge Estate in 1991. The vineyard is planted to Zinfandel and its principal complementary varietals.
The 2016 Lytton Springs is 69% Zinfandel, 23% Petite Sirah, 6% Carignan & 2% Mataró (Mourvèdre).
The sustainably farmed, hand-harvested estate-grown grapes were destemmed and crushed. Fermentation was with native yeasts, followed by full malolactic. Ageing was for 14 months in American oak barrels – 15% new, the balance 1-5 years old.
Winemakers tasting note:
Complex aromas of vanilla, raspberry and black pepper. Full bodied with firm acidity, focused blackberry fruit and an elegant lingering finish.
From the famous Monte Bello Vineyard, this is the “baby brother” to Ridge “Monte Bello” and the wine that, until 2008, was called “Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet”.
The Monte Bello vineyard, situated a mere 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean, sits at an altitude of 2,600 ft, high up in the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA, California’s coolest Cabernet producing area.
75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot & 5% Cabernet Franc from between fifteen of twenty estate parcels. The oldest vines date back to 1949 with further plantings in 1968/9, 1972, 1982, 1987/8, 1990, 1995, 1997/8 and 2008.
The grapes were de-stemmed, and carefully sorted before being fermented using the native yeasts. The wine was pressed after six days. Natural malolactic was initiated in tank and finished in barrel with additional 16 weeks of lees contact.
The wine was aged for 19 months in American oak barrels; (70% new, 30% two and three years old).
Winemakers tasting note:
“Deep purple colour. Aromas of blackcurrant, cherries, clove spice, toasted oak, and cocoa. Ripe bramble fruit entry, medium-full body, supple tannins, and sweet oak; firm acid persists in a long finish.”
Eric Baugher – winemaker at Ridge
Copyright 2014 | Richard Granger Fine Wine Merchants