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Neighborhoods of the Russian River Valley

Neighborhoods of the Russian River  Valley

Just as a city has a certain character, but within the city individual neighborhoods have characters of their own, so it is with the “neighborhoods” of the Russian River Valley.  Farmers for generations have identified many of these regions, but in the last ten years or so the Russian River Valley Winegrowers have engaged in a more in-depth study of their characters.

Winemaker Greg La Follette has been instrumental in this endeavor. He and owner Melissa Moholt-Siebert recently attended a tasting of three Pinots from each of the five currently-described neighborhoods, with an all-star panel of winemakers: Ashley Hertzberg of Bacigalupi Vineyards, Jen Walsh of La Crema Winery, Eva Dehlinger of Dehlinger Winery, … Read More »

Vineyard Spotlight: Siebert Ranch

Vineyard Spotlight: Siebert Ranch

Siebert Ranch is the home vineyard for Ancient Oak Cellars.  It is a 31 acre ranch just outside the northern boundary of Santa Rosa, and on the eastern edge of the Russian River Valley AVA, as the hills rise to the Mayacamas. In 1956, Henry and Elizabeth Siebert bought the property, which had once been a part of the San Miguel Rancho, owned by Marcus (Mark) West and his wife Guadelupe Vasquez, who was the niece of General Vallejo.  The adobe for the rancho, and the school that they founded, were located less than two miles north/northwest.

In … Read More »

Ancient Oak Cellars’ winemaker Greg La Follette’s enduring love affair with Chardonnay

Ancient Oak Cellars’ winemaker Greg La Follette’s enduring love affair with Chardonnay

I first started enjoying Chardonnay as a teenager because my dad was collecting a lot of wines and Chardonnay was essentially a brand-new varietal in California, only really being intensively worked on following the Judgment of Paris. My dad was actively seeking out all those guys like Randy Dunn, Jerry Luper, and Mike Grgich. So I had the opportunity to taste those wines at an early age and also see how they aged, because my dad laid down a lot of wine. What I saw there was that although they were beautiful early, many of them didn’t age so well. I knew from tasting classic Burgundian Chardonnays from my … Read More »

Sur Lies Aging with Greg La Follette

It’s said that the early actors in Ancient Greece rubbed wine lees on their faces in the first form of stage makeup.  Much as we embrace wine names based on poets of antiquity, this use of lees hasn’t caught on here at Ancient Oak Cellars.

However, if you have seen our recent release of a 2014 Chardonnay from the famed Kent Ritchie vineyard (or have heard about our forthcoming spring release of 2015 Chardonnays from the Nurmi and Flyway vineyards), you may have noticed references to a technique called sur lies aging.  If you haven’t heard about any of these, that probably means you haven’t joined our wine … Read More »

Stories of Harvest: Lucy Moholt-Siebert

Stories of Harvest: Lucy Moholt-Siebert

“Harvest is the anchoring point of our year” is what I wrote in the first blog of this series, and it’s what I tell myself as the bathroom light first hits my eyes at three in the morning and when I down a mug of coffee and when I realize that it was decaf.  Earlier, when the grating noise of my alarm breaks the tranquility of my darkened room, I’m not awake enough even to think, let alone give myself pep talks.  Later on I’m too immersed in the rush of harvest — and in the rush of grape juice, grape leaves, dirt clods, and MOG.

MOG: Material other than … Read More »

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