Wine

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

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cab20142014 Red Hills Cabernet

The 2014 Red Hills vintage was notably warm, with an exceptionally dry summer, leading to an accelerated harvest. The quality of the grapes exceeded expectations, showing ripe tannins and concentrated flavors. The vintage was acclaimed by growers and winemakers alike as being of high quality, and regarded as one of the best in recent memory. The Cabernet Sauvignon harvest began almost two weeks early due to the early ripening, but once winemaking began, the grapes showed off their distinctive and complex mountain fruit flavor profiles, which make the Red Hills such an ideal place to grow Cabernet.

The winemaking for this vintage focused on tempering the firm tannins of the Red Hills by blending cool climate Merlot from Mendocino with the dark-berried accents of Napa Valley Petite Sirah. The wine was cellar aged for 14 months and saw six months of French oak (25% new).   The final blend for the 2014 Dancing Crow Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon is composed of 86% Red Hills Cabernet, 9% Mendocino County Merlot and 5% Napa Valley Petite Sirah.

Winemaker’s Tasting Impressions

A uniquely-styled Cabernet from the Red Hills of Lake County.  Opening with dark berry and mocha aromas, the palate soars high and bright with a great lift of cassis and sandalwood flavors.  The acidity gives a breath of freshness that propels on to a prolonged, toffee-edged finish.  This Cabernet is an embodiment of the land it comes from, displaying classic, dark, red fruit and spice flavors supported by supple, velvety tannins.

VARIETAL
86% Cabernet Sauvignon
9% Merlot
5% Petite Sirah
BOTTLED DATE
October 29, 2015
GROWING REGION
Red Hills AVA, Lake County
ALCOHOL
14.3%
Elevation
2100 ft.
PH
3.68
FERMENTATION
6 Months French Oak (25% New)
TITRATABLE ACIDITY
6.0 g/L

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sauv2014 2014 Sauvignon Blanc

The 2014 vintage was characteristically warm and dry. Yet, the harvest on August 22nd was one of the earliest ever, due to an unusually mild and warm spring.

The grapes were picked at 21 degrees Brix, with harvesting beginning at midnight and ending by dawn. We were pressing grapes by nine in the morning and had the juice chilled to 48 degrees Fahrenheit before lunch.  Shockingly, two days later a 6.0 earthquake rolled through the Napa Valley, splitting adjacent tanks and spilling wine, but fortunately sparing the 2014 Dancing Crow vintage from a similar fate.

Fermentation was a delicate balance of preserving fruit intensity and freshness while developing depth and textual definition. We set aside a small lot to undergo lees stirring, to enhance texture and length. 100% of our blend was fermented cold to capture floral and fruit aromas and preserve fruit intensity.

Winemaker’s Tasting Impressions

The wine was bottled on January 16th 2015 at the peak of aromatic intensity, highlighting an elegant bouquet of rose petals, guava and honeycomb. On the palate its fresh acidity plays well with crisp golden apple, apricot and pear flavors. Each step in our grape growing and winemaking process is designed to produce a bright, invigorating wine that stimulates conversation and enhances meals with family and friends.

VARIETAL
100% Sauvignon Blanc
BOTTLED DATE
January 16, 2015
GROWING REGION
Big Valley District AVA, Lake County
ALCOHOL
12.8%
HARVEST DATE
August 22, 2014
PH
3.35
FERMENTATION
5 months stainless steel
TITRATABLE ACIDITY
8.0 g/l

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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.