Twin Creeks Vineyard, Napa Valley
This vineyard is in Wooden Valley, in the southeastern part of the Napa Valley appellation, on benchland near two streams. It mainly produces high quality Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, but a block of Barbera represents an inspired match of climate and clone. The main Barbera clone has small, loose clusters and small berries, in sharp contrast to much of the Barbera grown in California, which typically has much larger clusters and berries. The clone is so obscure it doesn't have a formal name that we know. What we do know is that its grapes translate into consistently deep color and concentration.
Estate Wine, Solano County Green Valley
This small block of Cabernet vines, generally western-facing on a bench above Green Valley Road, struggles in shallow, volcanic soil. It has lower yields of smaller clusters but more concentrated fruit, and moderate tannins. With an average of 30 degrees diurnal temperature variation, the Cabernet is able to ripen fully while retaining its clean natural acidity.
The weather in 2013 was generally mild, but late season heat led to a harvest in mid-September, earlier than usual in what would be the first year of a five-year drought. Modest yields moderated the early harvest, allowing the grapes to develop ripe fruit flavors and balanced acidity, which contributed to a smooth 16-day fermentation.
Cabernet Sauvignon 99%, Syrah 1%
Wirth Ranch, Solano County Green Valley
Wirth Ranch's old, head-pruned vines are planted on a steep hillside where they receive sun all day. This orientation allows the Zinfandel to ripen, despite the fact that Green Valley tends to be slightly cooler than much of Suisun Valley. The block is dry-farmed.
This vineyard usually ripens early, in the first part of September, and 2014 was no exception; we picked on the 8th. Because it is dry-farmed, sugars can climb abruptly, especially if there is a heat spike, but this was not a problem in 2014. Yields were modest, under two tons per acre.
Zinfandel 98%, Petite Sirah 2%
Dry Creek Valley
Dry Creek Valley is justly famous for its Zinfandel and related varieties, including Petite Sirah. The reddish soils and the area’s climate are well suited to produce wines that are both elegant and robust. The combinations of valley and hillside fruit, of old vines and newer plantings, and of winemaking traditions dating back to the 19th century, are capable of producing complex, age-worthy wines.
This vintage was in the middle of an extended drought period, but consistent temperatures, and cooler weather in September, allowed the grapes to continue developing on the vine. As a result, the drought’s effect was mainly on yields, while grape quality remained high.
Solano Midnight Sun Foundation
The mission of this local, all-volunteer organization is to provide assistance and resources to men and women affected by breast cancer. Its goal is to solve problems facing a breast cancer patient, whether medical such as tests, drugs or travel expenses to specialized facilities; or life stresses such as missed car or rent payments.