My thoughts on our 2006 harvest

Wow, what a year to start my label!

I happily and successfully sourced some amazing grapes during the winter of 2005-2006. I was getting Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Sangiacomo Roberts Road and Cabernet Sauvignon from the famed Monte Rosso vineyard up on Moon Mountain.

However we had an extremely wet and unusually cool weather early in the growing season causing a late start and a late and somewhat anxiety provoking finish.Warm summer heat followed by more moisture contributed to short crops and mildew problems in a few areas – the Roberts Road vineyard is prone to mildew, so once I pulled my Pinot Noir off the vines, I was hoping the Chardonnay could hang a little more to ripen fully. Instead, the Chardonnay fell apart in a bloom of botrytis and I found myself in early October without grapes for my white label!

At the last minute, a friend of mine and fellow winemaker Joe Otos told me about a funny little late ripening vineyard on the border of Marin and Sonoma. It didn’t even have a name yet, since the earlier owners had only made wine for themselves or sold the grapes to places for larger blends.

We called it Peyton’s vineyard, and the wine is lovely. The Cabernet up at Monte Rosso hung well and we harvested it in late October – and the grapes looked incredible.

In my experience, the vintage effects of 2006 created more restrained yet elegant wines for many producers – and I would say that is true for me as well.

This vintage was a tough one, but if you could hold on through and get the grapes you wanted, you were rewarded with elegant and interesting wines.

Catherine Blagden

Wines from our 2006 harvest

2006 Chardonnay - Peyton's Vineyard, Chileno Valley Road

Clear and golden, toasty marshmallow, vanilla, citrus oil and pineapple share space with wet stone on the nose. The aromas are confirmed with mineralty and round textures that give way to a long, steely, smoky finish.

Balanced and complex, this wine is drinkable now, but should age nicely for another 10 or more years.

Clones: Old Wente Clone
Rootstock: 110R

Inoculated with Montrachet yeast, 100% barrel fermented and native 100% malolactic fermentation. 100% French oak, 30% new. 10 months in barrel.

pH: 3.58
TA: 5.9 g/L
Alcohol: 13.5%
Harvested: 10/22/06
Bottled: 9/5/07
Produced: 140 cases
Released: Spring 2010

2006 Sangiacomo Roberts Road Pinot Noir

Garnet in color with beautiful clarity and brilliance, this wine shows hints of red currents, black cherries and red plums layered with vanilla, clove and a spicy-earthiness on the nose. The sweet, velvety entry leads to a juicy mid-palate, with a consistent, layered and long harmonious finish.

Balanced and complex, this wine is drinkable now, but should age nicely for another 10+ years.

Clone: 115 – Block 11
Rootstock: 101-14

100% destemmed Pinot Noir, 5 day cold soak, native fermentation in open-top fermenters. Two punch-downs per day. Inoculated with EnoFerm Alpha for malolactic fermentation. 100% French oak, 20% new. 11 months in barrel.

pH: 3.52
TA: 6.0 g/L
Alcohol: 14.2%
Harvested: 10/19/06
Produced: 140 cases
Released: Fall 2010

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon - Monte Rosso Vineyard

A deep reddish-purple in color, this wine shows mocha, tasted almond, dried tobacco and blueberries on the nose. These give way to cigar box, chestnuts, leather, earth and a slight jasmione note on the palate with soft, elegant tannins, nice acid and a longfinish. This wine is a stylish and easy drinking Cabernet Sauvignon.

Balanced and complex, this wine is drinkable now, but should age nicely for another 10 or more years.

Clone: No clone, Monte Rosso field selection
Rootstock: 110R

Inoculated with MT and CSM yeast and a native malolactic fermentation
Cooperage: 100% French, 60% new. 21 months in barrel.

pH: 3.58
TA: 6.5 g/L
Alcohol: 14.8%
Harvested: 10/27/06
Produced: 280 cases