A New Vineyard and a New Wine – 2019 Rosé
One of the great pleasures of gradually becoming part of the farming community in Lake County is the discovery of new vineyards, which offer the potential for new and unique wines.
When we decided we wanted to add a Rosé to our portfolio, we asked our vineyard managers, Bella Vista Farming, and winemakers David and Katharine DeSante, to start looking for a vineyard that was planted to Rhone red grape varieties suitable for making a Provençal style Rosé.
Here are winemakers David and Cathren DeSante talking about the 2019 Rosé
The ideal site turned out to be where 25-to-30-year-old Syrah vines sit on the Smith Lane Vineyard, whose name alone tells you how long the Smiths, who own the property, have lived and farmed there.
It is located at 1,300 feet on the lower portion of the Kelsey Bench AVA and sits on dark clay-loam soils where abundant willows and a nearby pear orchard indicate the riparian nature of the environment. Even though it is close to our Old Stake 1901 Vineyard, this is actually a terroir closer to what we find at our Sauvignon Blanc vineyard in the Big Valley AVA a few miles closer to Clear Lake – more of a white wine location, which actually makes sense for the kind of wine we want to make – Fresh and complex with alcohol in the 12.5% range – a close cousin to our Sauvignon Blanc with a lovely pale peach color.
Just as the vineyard was chosen for its unique potential, our 2019 wine was grown and harvested specifically to be a Rosé. By contrast, many Rosés are actually a by-product of red wine production; a solution to an unripe or an overripe vintage. The Syrah grapes were hand picked on September 9th and 10th at just over 21° Brix. We sent 50% of the grapes to the classic “white grape pressing program” and the other 50% to a “Champagne pressing” program. The former gave us more flavor and color, while the latter gave us a wine that had intriguing aromas and more elegant texture. Combining the two optimizes the qualities of the fruit and creates a fresh, subtle and complex wine. Perfect for Summer.