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Winemaking Philosophy

Our philosophy to wine  making is as follows:

We look for fruit that comes from exceptional vineyards so we can make exceptional wines. Our fruit comes from  vineyards that are typically gentle slopping and west facing,  these types of vineyards will produce high quality fruit which leads to concentrated wines bursting with flavors. We do not pick the fruit based on numbers, i.e. pH, TA, or sugar levels, but rather by how they taste as they near optimal ripeness. Towards Harvest time we will be in the vineyards two to three times a day assessing this. When I feel they are right we will pick early in
the morning, and are focused on getting our fruit to the crush as quickly as possible. We hand sort our grapes to eliminate leaves and unripe clusters. Our grapes are 100% de-stemmed and then crushed.
We will typically cold soak our grapes, the length of time depending on the varietal, normally longer for Pinot Noir.
We ferment our wines in one ton open top bins, we will often times break down clone selections into separate lots and sometimes combine them, based on what we see in the vineyard. Our dedication is to classic French small lot winemaking techniques, each bin is hand punched down three to four times a day in order to obtain maximum exposure of skins to juice.
We know this process is very time consuming, but our goal is to maximize the flavor of the fruit while handling it as gently as possible.

The yeasts we use for each wine are dependent on the fruit's flavors and what we feel we want to accentuate for that particular vineyard. Currently, we use three different types of red wine yeast strains, Assmanhausen and RC212 for Pinot Noir, D80 for Syrah and currently completely natural for our Cabernet. We always assess our musts for natural fermentation possibilities. An example is that for our 2005 Pinot fully 1/3 of our lots were fermented naturally. Each yeast accentuates different aromatics and flavor profiles for each wine without overpowering the terroir aspect of the wines.

We perform extended macerations on our wines based on our assessment of the lots, with our 03 cabernet we extended the maceration 15 days after dryness which has greatly added to complexity and finesse of this wine.

The wine is then aged, the length of time dependent on the varietals typically the longest is the Cabernet followed by the Syrah and lastly the Pinot. Exclusively French oak is used, because of its origin and texture these barrels do not require the same toasting as other types of oak. These barrels have a long, soft, deep toasting allowing a true respect of the fruit and wine characteristics. This is in sharp contrast to the heavy, brutal toasting often found in wines with a pronounced "oaky" taste. The exact length depends of how the wines are evolving. We use different cooperages throughout the barrel program for our wines (30 to 50% new oak each year dependent on varietals), each adding a certain component to the wines. Cooperages in our current program include Cadus, Francois Freres, Dargaud & Jaegle, Damy and Mercurey. Most of these come from the Nevers, Allier and Vosges and we typically like medium toast plus.

Our winemaking procedures are both time consuming and detail oriented, but we feel they help us obtain our goals of producing wines that have immense concentration and complexity.

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