Wine

2016 Sauvignon Blanc

The 2016 vintage was universally seen as a banner year for Lake County, with both vineyard managers and winemakers alike singing its praises. Descriptors like “exceptional” and “exquisite” were just some of the adjectives used to describe the quality of the fruit harvested. From bud break through harvest, Lake County vineyards saw ideal weather patterns, including its trademark hot summer days tempered by cool, evening, coastal breezes. Frost was not an issue with only one moderate and two light frost events noted. Soil moisture levels were the best the county has seen in the last few years due to increased rain totals. Harvest was just a bit earlier than
normal but not as extreme as the previous few years. We began Harvest on August 21st in the eastern portion of our vineyard and finished up on September 6th with the western side, which tends to ripen later. Our dense, volcanic, clay soils and cool evenings allowed us to pick between 20° and 22° Brix.

After pressing the grapes, winemakers David and Katharine let the juices settle for three days at 48-50°F before being racked for fermentation. We utilize two yeast strains in separate fermentations with particular focus on developing aromatics, richness and mouthfeel. Cold fermentation and lees stirring are employed to further the process by adding length and texture, in addition to, enhancing innate floral and fruit aromas.

Winemaker’s Tasting Impressions

The 2016 vintage has produced an invigorating wine that shows off aromas of white alpine strawberry, spring flowers and white pineapple. On the palate there is a freshness and nuance with flavors of fresh Bartlett pear, white peach and guava. This wine balances a crisp brightness with a full mouthfeel, accentuated by layers of complexity and minerality; pairing exquisitely with oysters, shellfish, seafood pastas and goat cheeses.

VARIETAL
100% Sauvignon Blanc
HARVEST DATES
Aug 21st & Sep 6th 2016
REGION
Big Valley District AVA, Lake County
BRIX AT HARVEST
21 – 21.3
ELEVATION
1400 ft.
ROOTSTOCK
5BB
AGING
9 Months Stainless Steel
PH
3.40
ALCOHOL
12.3%
TITRATABLE ACIDITY
8.0 g/L
YEASTS
NT116 “Le Packet Blue” – South Africa
VL3 Denis Dubourdieu – Bordeaux
CLONE
UCD1 – Bordeaux circa 1880

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2016 Cabernet Sauvignon

Both vineyard managers and winemakers alike viewed the 2016 vintage as a banner year for Lake County. Descriptors like “exceptional” and “exquisite” were just some of the adjectives used to describe the quality of the fruit harvested. From bud break through harvest, Lake County vineyards saw ideal weather patterns, including its trademark hot summer days tempered by cool evening coastal breezes. Frost was not an issue with only one moderate and two light frost events noted. Soil moisture levels were the best the county has seen in the last few years due to increased rain totals. Harvest was just a bit earlier than normal but not as extreme as the previous
few years. We started harvest with Cabernet Sauvignon in late September in the relatively warm Red Hills and ended with Petite Verdot in late October up in the cooler elevations of the High Valley.

Each grape variety is picked separately, at the optimal level of ripeness. We blend during the winter to permit the varieties to marry prior to bottling. This insures the development of balance within the wine. To enhance this sensation of symmetry, we age our blend in 36% new French oak. The final blend for the 2016 Dancing Crow Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon is 75% Red Hills and High Valley Cabernet, 14% High Valley Malbec, and 6% and 5% respectively of High Valley Petit Verdot and Tempranillo.

Winemaker’s Tasting Impressions

This wine highlights how the power of Lake County’s Red Hills seamlessly compliments the elegance and aromatic freshness of the High Valley. Aromas of plum, allspice and clove develop into flavors of fresh dark cherry and cedar on the palate. The Red Hills’ fine tannins provide a smoothly textured palate sensation from start to finish. Fresh acidity from the High Valley culminates in a bright finish of cherry with a gentle note of French oak.

VARIETAL
75% Cabernet Sauvignon
14% Malbec
6% Petit Verdot
5% Tempranillo
GROWING REGION
64% Red Hills AVA
36% High Valley AVA
Lake County
ALCOHOL
14.3%
ELEVATION
2000–2600 ft.
PH
3.85
AGING
8 Months Medium + Toast French Oak (36% New)
Allier and Nievers Forests
TITRATABLE ACIDITY
5.7 g/L

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PREVIOUS VINTAGES

 

2015 Sauvignon Blanc

The 2015 Lake County Sauvignon Blanc vintage again faced significant drought conditions; yet, the fruit had a slight reprieve due to some late-season rain. Bud break was mid-April, the earliest in a decade in the Kelseyville region. Flowering was hampered by cool weather in Late may and early June leading to a reduced yield but these conditions paired with our clay soils produced grapes with superior aromatic potential. Harvest began on August 21st – one day earlier than the 2014 vintage after a short, intense growing season.

We picked at just over 21 degrees Brix (thanks to Lake County’s remarkably cool nights), which allow the grapes to recover from the 95+ degree summer temperatures. As was the case last year, this vintage of the Dancing Crow Sauvignon Blanc was impacted by natural disaster. Two major forest fires roared through Lake County during 2015 – the Rocky and Valley Fires – burning a combined 145,000 acres. Fortunately, both fires were southeast of our vineyard and Lake County’s daily influx of oceanic breezes kept the smoke from lingering too long. However, scores of people, including our bookkeeper, lost their homes and livelihoods in the fires; our thoughts continue to go out to them.

Fermentation lasted about 1 month using our two yeast strains, with particular focus on preserving fruit freshness and intensity, while also developing richness, mouthfeel and aromatics. Lees stirring and cold fermentation are employed to further the process by adding texture and length, in addition to, enhancing the grapes’ innate floral and fruit aromas.

Winemaker’s Tasting Impressions

Our Lake County vines offer up a unique and well-balanced Sauvignon Blanc that reconciles crisp acidity and mineral-like brightness with a full, round palate and lingering finish.  Aromas of fresh cut Comice pear and citrus blossom charm the senses, while the flavors exhibit a refreshing blend of Meyer lemon, apricot and Golden apple.

VARIETAL
100% Sauvignon Blanc
HARVEST DATES
Aug 21st & Aug 25th 2015
REGION
Big Valley District AVA, Lake County
BRIX AT HARVEST
21 – 21.3
ELEVATION
1400 ft.
BOTTLING DATES
Dec 14th – Dec 16th 2015
AGING
4 Months Stainless Steel
PH
3.40
ALCOHOL
12.3%
TITRATABLE ACIDITY
8.0 g/L
YEASTS
NT116 “Le Packet Blue” – South Africa
VL3 Denis Dubourdieu – Bordeaux
CLONE
UCD1

 

2015 Cabernet Sauvignon

The growing season for the 2015 Lake County Cabernet vintage was again hot and dry, with tonnages down about 10% contributing to an early harvest. Due to the dry conditions, the Cabernet vines produced dense berries in loose clusters and exhibited a particularly intense flavor profile. The fruit for the 2015 Dancing Crow Cabernet comes from the High Valley AVA in Lake County – where the volcanic soils and 2200′ hills provide a unique microclimate that allows for ideal sun exposure, substantial air movement and low nighttime temps – creating an especially compelling environment for growing Cabernet with optimum balance between fruit, tannins and acidity.

Our Winemakers, David and Katharine, accented this Cabernet vintage with a smattering of Malbec, adding a depthy layer of dark-berry flavor, and a pinch of Petit Verdot – to elegantly tie it all together. The final 2015 Dancing Crow Cabernet blend is made up of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Malbec and 5% Petit Verdot – all originating from the High Valley AVA.

Winemaker’s Tasting Impressions

This expressive Cabernet embodies the volcanic soils from which it comes, displaying intense aromas of plum and strawberry soon followed by brambly fruit flavors of raspberry and black currant. The finish is luscious and enduring, punctuated by an intriguing note of wild thyme.

VARIETAL
83% Cabernet Sauvignon
12% Malbec
5% Petite Verdot
BOTTLED DATE
January 26, 2017
GROWING REGION
High Valley AVA, Lake County
ALCOHOL
14.5%
ELEVATION
2200 ft.
PH
3.85
AGING
14 Months French Oak (40% New)
Allier and Nievers Forests
TITRATABLE ACIDITY
5.8 g/L

The Land

Our Sauvignon Blanc vineyard is located in Lake County, at the northwestern base of Mount Konocti, in close proximity to Clear Lake. The midday heat of summer is tempered daily by cool afternoon breezes brought in by the lake and the 1400 ft. elevation, creating a unique microclimate which allows for a true expression of the Sauvignon Blanc varietal without excessive alcohol levels. The soil is a rich, black “Diablo clay” that cracks in the summer, restricting root extension and decreasing vigor, yet still retaining water. Small berries and loose clusters are produced, which are essential to our wine’s flavor intensity. This unique terroir, in addition to, our sustainable farming practices results in a complex flavor profile, showcasing floral aromas complimented by citrus, green apple and stone fruit flavors.