Careful Monitoring

How We Do It

The beauty of using oak barrels is more than skin deep.  They not only serve as a storage vessel but they also transfer attractive aromatics and flavor profiles and allow for micro-oxygenation.  The microscopically small amounts of air that passes through the wood staves and pores slowly round the wine and soften young aggressive tannins.  This small amount of evaporation combined with absorption of wine by the barrel wood creates a small air pocket in the barrel or "head room."  The French refer to this loss of wine in the barrel as "the angels’ share."  It’s important to top the barrels with reserve wine juice in order to keep the wine fresh and minimize oxidation.  We maintain a regular barrel topping regime that takes place no less than every two to four weeks to keep the barrels full.

Barrel racking is a common quality assurance technique we perform during ageing. Wine aged in barrels develops some amount of lees sediment (spent yeast) that settles at the bottom of the barrel over time.  Because of the fragile nature of Pinot Noir we do not rack or transfer the wine off the lees for fear of dulling its fragile flavors.  However more robust wines like Syrah require longer barrel time and we rack the wine from barrels, clean the barrels, and return the wine for further aging. Wines are typically racked from barrel every two to four months.  Finally, we are constantly testing the wine to ensure quality and send samples to our friends at ETS labs, the most cutting edge wine laboratory in the U.S.  Dr. Richard Descenzo has been invaluable to our success in maintaining high levels of quality control.

The Best Vineyards
Great Grapes
Gentle Handling
Cold Soak & Pre-Fermentation
Small Lot Primary Fermentation
Gentle Press
Good Wood
Seconday Fermentation
Careful Monitoring
Our Pinot Noirs
Balinard Vineyards
Amber Ridge Vineyard
Bohemian Vineyards
Las Madres Vineyard