Whether it is your hometown or someplace otherwordly, finding a place of familiarity and comfort in your surroundings represents the journey that all of us are going on. Going Home.
This wine, with artwork by Ojai based artist Daren Thomas Magee, represents our journey of finding a sense of home even in the unknown. With an invigorated drive to double-down on the innovative winemaking techniques that our cellar team has become known for, we set out to create something that's probably never been seen before – an unfined, unfiltered native-yeast carbonic white wine.
Sounds like something from another planet, right? Check it. Carbonic Maceration is a process in which we place grape clusters in a covered tank and pump in carbon dioxide, which removes oxygen. Slowly, the grapes release an enzyme that converts the grape sugar into alcohol, bursting the berries without adding additional yeast. This process, combined with gravity, macerates the grapes into juice before we move them to a traditional press. Native yeasts from the grape skins start the fermentation process, which is a technique used in many natural wines.
But that's not what makes this wine so cool – carbonic maceration is a technique most often seen on red wines, not white wines. Due to volatile phenols linked to aromatics, it is quite difficult to successfully create a white wine using carbonic maceration. That's probably why nobody does it. Well, except us.
It all started when we found this crazy white grape, originally from the southwest of France, called Petit Manseng. This grape has incredibly high natural acidity and tiny berries, and since carbonic maceration lowers acidity we figured it would be the perfect guinea pig for this treatment.
We were psyched when we pressed this experiment and realized the incredible tropical fruit purity that the wine had. After spending 5 months in neutral French Oak barrels sur lees, we bottled this masterpiece unfined and unfiltered, preserving every last drop of beauty in the barrel. It smells like a tropical paradise with notes of pineapple, blood orange rind, and toasted nuts. The palate is ripe and juicy with a broad mouthfeel that carries the fruit flavors of guava, lychee and honeydew over to the crisp yet textured finish.
Home amongst the stars.
Appellation: El Dorado County
Vineyard Designation: 85% Saureel Vineyard, 15% Sierra de Montserrat
56% Vermentino, 44% Petit Manseng
7 days whole-cluster carbonic maceration, whole-cluster pressed, native yeast fermentation, bottled unfined and unfiltered.
5 months in neutral French oak barrels sur lees