I hope you’re having a fabulous week. This week I wanted to dive into the story behind our Sauvignon Blanc harvest.
If you’ve been following along, you know that we just recently harvested our 2021 Sauvignon Blanc from Eds’ Vineyard.
There was a lot of work put into this vineyard, and the story I think is one worth sharing.
Back in 2013, we planted our Miracle Vineyard which carries the majority of our Bordeaux grape varieties and Cabernet Sauvignon. This vineyard was my Dad’s first project. He wanted to find the grape clones of his favorite wines of the Napa Valley: Cain Five, Quintessa, Pahlmeyer, Opus One, Caymus and Joseph Phelps to name a few. He worked with a geologist to study the soils of that rocky hillside to determine which vines would grow best in these soils. They, together, picked the rootstocks, the clones and the placement of the vines.
My Dad always loved Petit Verdot and had a significant amount planted to increase the amount of PV in our blends. It’s the second most populous grape variety in our Bordeaux-style blend hovering around 23% per wine.
We were finally able to pick that vineyard in 2016 and the fruit was put into our 2016 Syrah, one of our most highly awarded wines.
In 2017, I looked at my Dad and said, “We need to plant a white. We’ve got this entire hillside that’s just empty,” to which he replied, “Well there’s only one variety we can plant, Sauvignon Blanc!” And he didn’t say that because Sauvignon Blanc was the one variety we could physically plant. He said it because that was the favorite white wine amongst my entire family. It was the one that mattered the most.
In March of 2018 our vines were planted. And we would wait 3 full growing seasons before they were ready to be picked. In 2021, we harvested.
On August 24th at 6am we started our harvest (Click the link to see the video!) Eds’ vineyard with 10 of our men, buckets and sheers. We climbed our acre of vines selecting the finest fruit and bringing them up to our bins.
It was a quick decision by myself and our winemaking team as to when the vines would be ready. I was bringing in samples weekly, even twice a week just to make sure it was accurate. We knew we had an obligation to make simply perfect wines.
When we got to the crush pad (Click the link to see the video!), the grapes were ready to go ringing in at just over 1/2 a ton and at the perfect sugar level of 23.5 brix and 3.5pH. Not bad, eh? For those of you looking at these numbers unsure, let’s break it down:
1) 23.5 Brix, high enough sugar to have fabulous ripeness and flavors coming from the fruit, not too much alcohol, and the grapes have reached their prime potential.
2) 3.5pH, lower numbers of pH is better (3.2-3.6) to come in for a wine that LOVES acidity. This is perfect because we will not need to make so many adjustments on the wine. The natural acidity helps balance the fruit to make the wine taste just bright enough and not flabby.
This wine went directly into tank where it was inoculated (yeast was added to begin fermentation) and now we wait for a bit before transferring to neutral oak barrels. This will help give the wine a little roundness, making it perfectly balanced.
This is NOT going to be an oaky wine. This is a wine that shows unique estate elegance. It expresses the terroir of the Malibu Coast, and also pays homage to Mr. Robert Mondavi himself alongside the winemakers of Pouilly Fume in France.
As always my goal with AJA production is to pay homage to the beautiful and classical representations and regions of winemaking but with adding a little Malibu flair!
I cannot wait to share more of the process as the wines continue to mature and the 2021 harvest continues on!
Monday, we are getting in our Grenache from Paso! New rosé coming at you soon!