Varietal: Nebbiolo, 100%
Appellation: San Benito
Vinification: 100% de-stemmed, gently punched down over the course of its fermentation
Aging: 10 months Neutral French Oak
Production: 2 barrels, several stainless steel holding vessels, 64 cases
As a winemaker who doesn’t have a vineyard there are several ways for one to get grapes. The two most common contracts that you would form are either by tonnage, or by acreage. I have almost always worked by tonnage - it makes for very easy and clean math/planning (one ton of fruit roughly translates to 2 barrels of wine). I say ‘almost always’ My new Nebbiolo source is a section of a vineyard where CB Wine Cellars gets exclusively, all of the fruit being produced - it’s a perfect site on the top of a hill that gets unadulterated sunshine, wind, and rests on a vein of limestone (my personal favorite base rock for Nebbiolo).
The problem? These new vines in 2016 produced the perfect 1 ton I was predicting. 2017, on the other hand, showed that these vines were coming to their own and produced closer to 1.3 tons! This became a blessing in disguise - not only did the additional abundance of fruit mean I could drop the price of the wine, it also forced me to scramble and find vessels to store the wine. This ended up being a handful of 15 gallon kegs - which brought out a whole new side of the Nebbiolo. Without the influence and aeration of oak we saw a vibrant, bright, and youthful wine that exhibited bouquets of roses, spritzed with rose water, and raspberries on the side, BUT this youthful wine also came with more tannin and grip than I would consider welcoming. Now when you combine the more subtle, and softer, oak aged Nebbiolo with the youthful stainless steel wine you get, in my opinion, the best Nebbiolo I’ve produced to date!