My mother Martha started being contracted as a consulting winemaker for some local producers in the 1980’s and that gave her the opportunity to start our family label.
I remember tasting grapes in the vineyard – cool climate vineyards that imbued the fruit with the structure – the phenolics that we recognize among the highest quality wines on earth. I knew those flavors and knew when to pick them.
This is a former timber ranch on the northeast side of Annapolis. Tucked into the eight hundred acres of redwood forest, is the Campbell’s small and beautiful vineyard, managed to perfection by Ulises Valdez. The vineyard sit’s just above the fog line at 1,000 foot elevation, providing plenty of clear, cool ripening hours, making it an ideal site for pinot noir. The soils on the ridge are calcerous coastal sandstone – which was once ocean floor.
Wildcat Mountain Vineyard
The South Eastern border of Sonoma County abuts the salty flats and marshes of the San Pablo Bay, and in that stretch is another micro climate perfectly suited for growing Pinot Noir. Wildcat Mountain is the highest point in this region and it’s there that Steve Macrostie, long time vintner and maker of Pinot Noir, planted this unique vineyard. The site is rocky with volcanic soils, and the wind blows constantly. These are two dynamics that contribute to tannin production in wine grapes and you’ll understand why we mention this when you taste the wine. Our Wildcat Mountain Pinot has a richness, but not a fruit richness -it’s the powerful and smooth tannins produced by a long growing season in the winds on the mountain top. The vines bend and leaves curl in the breezes, and generate intense, small fruit. We source our small production from two different blocks and four clones – Pommard, 777, 667 and 115.
Hopkins River Ranch
This old vine Swan clone comes from a small, low yielding block at Hopkins River Ranch in the Russian River Valley. The Hopkins family has been farming their vineyard for over forty years, with an emphasis on sustainable wine grape growing and overall care for their land.
This chardonnay comes from the Stuhlmuller Ranch in the Southwest corner of Alexander Valley. This old Chardonnay vineyard, which has some mixed inner plantings, is tucked into the hills where the valley ends and the Russian River turns west towards Healdsburg. Growing on a gravel and loam bench, the vines benefit from the hot afternoons and cool nights right above the river.
Lancel Creek Vineyard
In between the steep drainages winding up from Green Valley and the the foggy forests stretching down to the Pacific, sits the Occidental Ridge. Where the ridge begins falling to the southwest slope, above the town of Occidental, is Lancel Creek vineyard. This small planting of Pommard and 777 clones produces some of the most distinctive Pinot Noir’s in the region. Lancel creek features Gold ridge soils – low in nutrients and world renowned for Pinot Noir cultivation. Cold ocean air through the night and morning, then afternoon sun, give our Lancel Creek offering the deep structure distinct tannins of a truly coastal Sonoma County Pinot. The vineyard is farmed by Ulises Valdez and our production averages 80 – 100 cases per vintage.
The Saini Zinfandel vineyard in Dry Creek Valley is planted on a bench on the Eastern slope of the valley. Our block is known as “Gene’s Pump” and is farmed with a high canopy and low yield, giving us concentrated, focused fruit, with plenty of acid and lower alcohol than is typical for this region.