Meet the out-of-the-ordinary Amador County wines
from our extraordinary winemaking team,
Jessica Tarpy Shaheen and Andy Erickson.
Rosé & White
Our inaugural release of our 2019 Réserve Rosé is a nod to the classic rosés of Southern France, where Rolle, otherwise known as Vermentino, is frequently amongst the cast of characters, along with Grenache. We decided to try our hand at this technique, with the stunning Vermentino block at our fingertips on the ranch. The result is the epitome of purity, full stop.
We vinify our dry rosé from the classic Provençal grapes Mourvèdre and Grenache, picking the cooler sections of the vineyard, early (sometimes even at night), to capture the utmost acidity. Ours is a ROI (Rosé of Intent) rather than rosé-as-a-byproduct-of-red-winemaking, aka saignée: We whole-cluster press and coferment the grapes in stainless steel to make a wine that’s bracing, fruity, and so very refreshing on a hot afternoon at the ranch. It’s Joan’s favorite.
Rich and Joan fell for Vermentino in the old Roman walled city of Orvieto (we know… nowhere near Sardinia). This Sierra Nevada Vermentino is a whole different kettle of fish, vigorous and bountiful, soft yet crisp. Our ice-cold nights and sun-soaked days bring out its brightness. It drinks best after a year in the bottle, when it releases its pretty aromatics and flavorful notes of mangosteen, lemon meringue, and grapefruit pith.
The first time Rich and Joan tasted Grenache Blanc, in the Santa Ynez Valley, they were informed that it “goes great with rattlesnake.” Well, that settled it: We had to plant it here. It makes a juicy, tannic, trenchant white with a mouthfeel like butter and a long finish spiced with cinnamon. It’s more about minerality than fruit, and more gold than clear, which feels right to us since it’s grown over an old gold mine. It is magnificent in its richness.
Late Harvest Vermentino
In a flight of fancy, conditions proved just right to produce our first and quite possibly only late harvest Vermentino. Employing a classic “dried on the vine” technique, in which alternate canes were cut to allow for drying directly in the canopy, and interspersed with naturally raisined clusters, this small section of the block was harvested well into November, at over 31°B. Pairs well with your favorite cheese or selection of poetry!
Unlike those ornery ink pots from Bandol, our Mourvèdre is earthy and straightforward, calling to mind the elusive wild Sierra currant and the rugged granite that forms those mountain peaks. It’s the sort of beverage you’d want to take to the pond just over the ridge. While you’re skewering a raw chicken liver on your hook and dropping your line into the water for catfish, dunk that bottle of Mourvèdre in the water, too, and let it chill. There is really nothing better than this.
Rich and Joan drank a life-altering Tempranillo in Barcelona, at the Zona d’Ombra, and decided that they had to plant it here. It’s our best-behaved vine variety. It ripens beautifully. We break with Spain and put it in French (not American) oak in an effort to refine it. All the same, its cowboy qualities cannot be stifled. We like to imagine Hollis and Sam Shaw, sitting by a campfire and clinking glasses of this red, saying, “¡Salud!”
The Simone is a succulent, spicy, seductive blend of Grenache Noir and Mourvèdre. Like its namesake, it’s elegant yet tough, and brims with joie de vivre. It’s a wine for feasting, both opulent and earthy, best enjoyed while wearing dungarees and boots. Or, alternately, diamonds, furs, and pearls. Simone would serve it alongside her famous Belgian Stew. Simone was a force of nature and we believe she would have been very, very proud of this wine. (But just between you and us, Marcel feels that his wine is superior.)
Here in the craggy foothills of the Sierra Nevada range, our Teroldego could be the rugged yokel cousin of the fruit grown by the relentless Elisabetta Foradori on the lush lower slopes of the Italian Dolomites. It’s pitch-black (it stains our hands when we work with it), with a juicy black-cherry simplicity that’s balanced by a thorny intensity. Added to our Tempranillo, it makes a wine that’s like the man himself: It’s tough as nails, but will melt your heart.