If you’ve been around our winemaker, Greg La Follette, you know how generous he is in sharing his amazing knowledge of wine with those around him. He sincerely loves to teach. He has graciously decided to share online, via this blog. Wow – we are so excited to be the venue for him to do this. Here goes!
Yesterday our 2014 harvest started. It was a symphonic overture that started slowly in the morning and built to a thrilling crescendo in the afternoon. We had great control over the picking in the vineyard, with a small crew, so were able to do a careful sorting in the vineyard. With all of the Ancient Oak Cellars family – including vineyard workers Arnulfo Becerra, Juan Moreno, and Lena Bouldridge, friend Larry Lira, tasting room worker Jordan Wardlaw, and Melissa and Ken’s daughter Lucy – we worked together with the picking crew to bring in the best from block 5 of the Siebert Ranch Pinot. This is the fruit we use to make the flagship Siebert Ranch vineyard-designate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.
Once we got to the winery, with the bagpipes skirling the fruit into the destemmer, and the rollers full-open, the grapes were put into the fermentation tanks with about 75% whole berry. This was gorgeous fruit. Everyone in the winery called others over to look at how beautiful it was. Initially we are not doing any punchdowns on the tanks, so we can get as much semi-carbonic action as we can. We are fermenting this in two separate lots – one in an open-top stainless steel fermentation tank, and one in a wide-shallow round tank that gives us an amazing surface-to-volume ratio. On this we are using native yeast fermentation, and allowing the vineyard to really speak to us fully.
We are really trying to listen to the voice of the land telling us what to do — and keep ourselves open to its message. If we don’t, we are condemned to making formulaic wines, but if we do a good job of listening to what the land has to say, we will build a partnership that invites us in. That, my friends, is the key – respecting the land so it can ask us to add just a little to its voice.
This is what we do, this is who we are – stewards of the land. Patiently asking the land what it needs us to bring to the table for it to speak most eloquently. That is what I love, and why I am so excited to be working with Melissa and Ken, who share this vision and this passion.
Tags: Ancient Oak Cellars, Cellar News, Cellar Notes, Greg La Follette, PINOT NOIR, Russian River Valley, RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY PINOT NOIR, Santa Rosa, Siebert Ranch and Vineyards, Sustainable Winegrowing, Vineyard News, Winemaker Notes
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