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A fourth year of drought and a relatively warm winter in California led to an early start to the growing season, which in turn resulted in one of the earliest harvests on record. Yields were at record lows as well. Clusters and berries were small and very concentrated, translating to exceptional quality.
This wine brings together three different varietals from the outstanding Estelle Vineyard located in the heart of Santa Ynez Valley. Planted in 1998, the estate features gently rolling slopes with shallow loam soils full of cobblestones of various colors and shapes. The warm days and cool, foggy nights make it ideal for Rhône varietals.
The Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre grapes were hand-picked into half-ton bins and crushed into the same tank to be co-fermented. This process allowed for maximum fruit expression of the Grenache, superb color extraction of the Syrah and excellent tannin structure from the Mourvèdre. Following a two-day cold soak, the lots were inoculated with D254 yeast to initiate the primary fermentation. Maximum extraction was achieved by pumping over four times daily during peak fermentation, then once daily until dry. After pressing, the wine was transferred to Côte du Rhône French oak barrels where it underwent malo-lactic fermentation and aged for 15 months.
This Rhône-style blend exhibits bold aromas and flavors of juicy blueberry, dark plum and black raspberry with a touch of white pepper and anise. The rich, supple texture is supported by beautifully integrated oak from the Rhône cooperage. The tannin profile is superbly balanced, due in part to the co-fermentation of the three varietals. The wine culminates in a smooth, lingering finish.
182 cases produced Alcohol 14.4%