The Armagh Vineyard is located in the Chileno Valley southwest of Petaluma in what is known as the Petaluma Gap. The Steinbeck series soil consists of deep, well drained soils that formed in material weathered from soft sandstone. Steinbeck soils are on smooth rolling hills and have slopes of 2 to 50 percent. The annual precipitation is about 30 inches and the annual temperature is about 55 degrees. The fog and ocean breezes that cool the Carneros region come through the Petaluma Gap. This makes the Chileno Valley five to ten degrees cooler than Carneros. The cooler temperatures translates to slower maturation of the fruit and longer hang time on the vine thus avoiding overripe fruit. Typical of this cool growing region, floral and spice notes give way to opulent black cherries in the nose and on the palate. Hints of cinnamon and chocolate can be found on the finish where the chocolate/creamy character mingles very pleasantly with the black cherry fruit. Very distinct to his vineyard are the hints of smoke found on both the nose and palate. Supple tannins and balanced acidity combine to make a velvety mouth-feel and perfectly rounds out the palate.
With an elevation of approximately 1,200 ft. the vineyard has primarily a northern exposure. The cooler climate gives moderate sugar levels in the grapes in exchange for intense flavor, more color, and a higher acid. The cooler climate also contributes to a longer growing season which helps to develop flavor. The annual rainfall averages 25 inches a year and an annual average temperature of 52 degrees. Primarily consisting of Franciscan shale, the thin and unfertile soil makes it difficult to grow in but very rewarding in the fruit. The Estate Vineyard produces wines with rich forward fruit full palate and acidity. The vineyard is dry farmed with head pruned Zinfandel and Carignane grapes and the remaining varietals are trellised. Currently there are eight acres of the estate vineyard are planted to: Zinfandel- 2 acres (1910 & 1977), Cabernet Franc- 2.0 acres (1920), Carignane- 1 acre (1920), Chardonnay, Mt Eden clone- 2 acres (1977), Pinot Noir- 1 acre (2000).
Coast View Vineyard
The Coast View Vineyard sits along the Gabilan Range of mountains at the elevation of 2,200 feet just 30 miles east of Monterey. It is an exceptional site and one that few wine lovers will ever see. The warm, sunny days help build deep colors and desired sugars; the cool nights ensure the development of ample acids. Mid-morning and late-afternoon breezes further modify the climate. The mountain range averages about 15 inches of rainfall annually. The mountain soils contain fragmented granite and crumbled sandstone as well as granite and limestone. Relatively young in geologic time, these soils contain very little clay and are absent of unwanted hardpan layers, promoting thorough drainage. They are a wonderful medium for growing ripe, well-balanced grapes. It is very aromatic and typical for this vineyard to show the true syrah characteristics from the appellation. The wine shows copious amounts of fresh fruit characters of red and black cherries, and beautiful secondary aromatics of rose hips and violets. These characteristics seamlessly carry through on the palate where they mingle with the supple yet full mouth-feel.
It’s not often I get to introduce a new vineyard into our pinot noir family, especially a local one, and it is with pride that I present to you the new Muns Vineyard. It is located on a ridge at 2600’ on Loma Prieta in the Santa Cruz Mountains overlooking the Monterey Bay. Cool foggy mornings, windy afternoons and well drained sandy/shale soils make it perfect for growing pinot noir. It is planted wholly to 4 Dijon clones: 115, 667, 777 & 114 also known as the usual suspects in California pinot vineyards today.
The Tondre’ vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands, south of Salinas and west of Gonzales, has become well known for pinot noir over the years. Located in the central part of the appellation, it is cooled primarily by fog which enhances the spicy characters of the grapes. This appellation has protruding southeast facing slopes, strong maritime influences from Monterey Bay and ancient glacial soils consisting of decomposed granite, gravel and sandy loam. This means more sunlight on the vine and more even ripening, with sufficient cool-down in the evening to firm up the grapes natural acidity. The grapes have an intense expression of deep fruit flavors gaining complexity and nuance from deep vine penetration of the soil and extraction of its minerals. The dominant characteristics of red cherry and black cherry are in abundance in this fruit.
The Tina Marie & Gunsalus Vineyards
The Tina Marie and Gunsalus Vineyard are close neighbors located in the Green Valley sub-appellation of the Russian River Valley, northwest of Sebastopol. Green Valley is a somewhat cooler part of the RRV appellation. The soil has a dark, yellowish, fine loam surface over a subsoil of golden yellow, sandy loam and fractured sandstone. It is derived from the remains of an ancient inland sea that slowly emptied into the Pacific three to five million years ago. It is particularly valuable for high quality wine grape production because of its excellent drainage and low soil fertility. The vineyards are planted to three clones of pinot noir: 115, 667 and 777. The 115 clone contributes to the concentrated tart red cherry aromas and flavors however; the 115 clone tends to produce a lighter style wine. Clones 667 and 777 are used to create a big structure and give the wine its backbone and mouthfeel. It is very aromatic and typical for this vineyard to show the true pinot noir characteristics from the appellation. The wines show copious amounts of fresh fruit charters of red and black cherries and beautiful secondary aromatics of rose hops and violets.
What I like about the Regan Vineyard is its moderate climate, it sits on a bench just within the Santa Cruz Mountains boundaries on the borders of Watsonville Ca. The site is the coldest and slowest ripening site in California. I am able to acheive a ripe flavor at low alcohol, while preserving the racey acidity that makes me love the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Coast Grade Vineyard
Planted in 2008 the 17 acre Pinot Noir vineyard sits at an elevation of 1300 feet. This site was chosen as an ideal Pinot Noir growing location for its elevation & heavy alluvial (nutrient rich) soil with a limestone base. The vineyard is broken into four clonal blocks; Pommard, 828, 667 & 115.