Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
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Drew Goin
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#151 Post by Drew Goin » June 26th, 2018, 1:32 am

I want to give credit to the Berserker who brought my attention to this, but my brain fails me at the moment... :|

The DR Bennion Trust Fund's website has existed for a good while, but it seems like only recently the page has been updated - but NOT completed. Technically, this is not under the purview of Santa Clara and San Benito Counties, but the content* is SO GREAT that it deserves a place on just about every thread!! :P


Wines & Winemakers of the Santa Cruz Mountains: an Oral History (1992-1994):


"Table of Contents"

- Table of Contents & Title Page
- About This Project
- Interview Schedule

"The Peninsula"

- Gemello Winery
- Woodside Vineyards
- Sherrill Cellars
- Page Mill Winery
- Cronin Vineyards

"The Santa Cruz Area"

- Bargetto
- Hallcrest Vineyards
- Nicasio Vineyards
- Roudon-Smith Vineyards
- Devlin Wine Cellars
- Leo McCloskey
- Beauregard Ranch
- John Spezia
- Quistorf Ranch

"The Highlands"

- David Bruce Winery
- Ahlgren Vineyard
- P&M Staiger
- Santa Cruz Vineyard
- Locatelli: Eagle Rock Vineyard

"Saratoga Hills"

- Marcel Pourroy
- Germaine Pourroy
- Congress Springs
- Kathryn Kennedy Winery
- Scott Knight Smith

"Monte Bello"

- Picchetti Ranch
- Sunrise Winery
- The Mikulaco Family
- Fellom Ranch Vineyards
- Ridge Vineyards
Founding Partners:
° Elias (Lee) Carrasco
° Elmano Homem
° Paul Draper
› Ridge Wines & Documents

Index


* All links are PDF Image Downloads

http://drbenniontrustfund.org/Wines_and ... es%29.html

Special Thanks to the Berserker who informed me of the update!!!

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#152 Post by Drew Goin » July 15th, 2018, 2:28 pm

The following links provide multiple file download formats and sizes for the geological feature maps of the following regions of California, as well as interpretation guides.


USGS website
"Open-File Report 94-231: Preliminary Quaternary Geologic Maps of Santa Clara Valley, Santa Clara, Alameda, and San Mateo Counties, California: A Digital Database"
By E.J. Helley, R.W. Graymer, G.A. Phelps, P.K. Showalter, and C.M. Wentworth
Geology by E.J. Helley
Digital database compiled By R.W. Graymer, G.A. Phelps, P.K. Showalter, and C.M. Wentworth

sccomap.jpg
"Quaternary Geologic Maps of Santa Clara Valley, Santa Clara, Alameda, and San Mateo Counties, CA" - USGS
sccomap.jpg (20.95 KiB) Viewed 644 times

USGS website
"Geologic map of Santa Cruz County, California"
by EE Babb
1989

__________________________________________________________________

The following link provides an excellent zoom-able view of the geological feature map and an interpretation guide for Santa Cruz County, as well as multiple file download formats and sizes.

USGS website
"Geologic map of Santa Cruz County, California: U.S. Geological Survey, Miscellaneous Investigations Series Map I-1905, scale 1:62,500"
by EE Brabb
1989




USGS User Guide and Overview of Resources:
"Digital Mapping Techniques '05—Workshop Proceedings: 'Assessing the Status of Geologic Map Coverage of the United States—A New Application of the National Geologic Map Database'"
By David R. Soller

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#153 Post by Drew Goin » July 15th, 2018, 11:55 pm

USGS website
"Geology of the Southernmost Part of Santa Clara County, California: A Digital Database"
by R.W. Graymer
1997

minimap.jpg
"Geology of the Southernmost Part of Santa Clara County, CA" - USGS website
minimap.jpg (26.77 KiB) Viewed 633 times
The above link provides several formats of the map as well as interpretive guide data.

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#154 Post by Sean Devaney » July 16th, 2018, 8:19 am

Drew Goin wrote:I want to give credit to the Berserker who brought my attention to this, but my brain fails me at the moment... :|

The DR Bennion Trust Fund's website has existed for a good while, but it seems like only recently the page has been updated - but NOT completed. Technically, this is not under the purview of Santa Clara and San Benito Counties, but the content* is SO GREAT that it deserves a place on just about every thread!! :P


Wines & Winemakers of the Santa Cruz Mountains: an Oral History (1992-1994):

Thanks for posting this link Drew! I bought this book years ago and it was personally delivered by Fran Bennion, David's wife. I lent it to a friend who lent it to a friend of his and never saw it again [swearing.gif] I'm glad that it available online now.

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#155 Post by Drew Goin » July 16th, 2018, 8:19 pm

That would make me so angry! I am very protective (and possessive) of my books.

I think there are still some unfinished parts in the transcription of the various Bennion texts.

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#156 Post by Wes Barton » July 17th, 2018, 1:00 am

Drew Goin wrote:That would make me so angry! I am very protective (and possessive) of my books.

I think there are still some unfinished parts in the transcription of the various Bennion texts.
Sullivan said there's loads. A lot are on obsolete computer disks (or tapes?). I'd like to see an update with contemporary figures. The trust has the budget. It looked like it was going to happen a decade ago, but nothing happened.
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#157 Post by Ken Zinns » July 17th, 2018, 7:03 am

Sean Devaney wrote:Thanks for posting this link Drew! I bought this book years ago and it was personally delivered by Fran Bennion, David's wife. I lent it to a friend who lent it to a friend of his and never saw it again [swearing.gif] I'm glad that it available online now.
Bummer that you never got your book back, Sean. I was told a number of years ago that if you loan a book to anyone, don't expect to ever see it again. That has been the case too many times for me!
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#158 Post by Drew Goin » July 24th, 2018, 7:40 pm

Santa Cruz Mountains and Santa Clara Valley Wines Blog
"Two Older Santa Clara Labels"
by Dave
May 9, 2010


"Here's a couple of interesting older labels from the Santa Clara Valley. They were opened at a recent party by Wes Barton, who has a great knack for finding interesting local wines. I didn't get the chance to take proper notes, but I managed to rescue the empty bottles and remove the labels.

"Congress Springs was founded in the 1970's by Daniel Gers. He discovered a derelict vineyard in Saratoga with head pruned Zinfandel vines dating back to before prohibition. Together with his wife Robin they restored the vineyards and launched a successful winery. Around 1990 Daniel sold the winery and it became Savannah-Chanelle winery. The head-pruned Zinfandel vines are still producing today.
1986 Chardonnay.jpg
Congress Springs 1986 Chardonnay - from SCM & SCV Wines Blog
1986 Chardonnay.jpg (29.66 KiB) Viewed 594 times
"Congress Springs was well known for their San Ysidro Chardonnay, which often gained 90+ ratings from Spectator. The wine was still in very good shape despite its age; an amber colour and nice mature flavours.
1978 Ruby Cabernet.jpg
Fortino 1978 Ruby Cabernet - from SCM & SCV Wines Blog
1978 Ruby Cabernet.jpg (24.22 KiB) Viewed 594 times
"Fortino was established in 1970 in Santa Clara's Hecker Pass, and is still going 40 years later. They make around 15,000 cases, mainly sold from the tasting rooms and local stores and restaurants.

"Ruby Cabernet is a cross developed at UC Davis in the 1930's. The aim was to to produce a vine combining the quality of Cabernet Sauvignon with the heat and drought tolerance of Carignan. An acre was planted at Ridge in the 1950's, and the winery produced a series of rather good Monte Bello Ruby Cabernets from the late 1960's through the mid 1980's, but overall it wasn't a great success and is now mainly planted in the Central Valley, where around 6,000 acres are grown as a blending grape for bulk wines.

"So a 30-year-old wine made from an unremarkable grape by an unremarkable winery? It turned out to be surprisingly pleasant, still having a fair amount of fruit left as well as a little tannin. The colour was a nice red brown."


I do not know much about the quality or of the style of today's wines from Savannah-Chanelle and Fortino. I have wondered about the old-vine Zinfandel plot on the estate of Savannah-Chanelle and the +80-year-old Carignan vines at Fortino. Now I am curious as to the fate of the Monte Bello Ruby Cabernet vineyard owned by Ridge Vineyards.

__________________________________________________________________


The following 1987 article provides a good overview of the wines available at the time from Gehr's Congress Springs and, if I can say, an almost humorous retrospective on the wine trends of the mid-to-late-1980's.


LA Times
"A Historic Winery Bucks the Trend : Dan Gehrs Revives Congress Springs Venture at Saratoga"
by Nathan Chroman
February 12, 1987


"When Dan Gehrs, a former tour guide for Paul Masson Winery, revived the old Congress Springs Winery of 1892, little did he realize that it would become the largest wine enterprise in the historic Santa Clara County town of Saratoga. With an annual production of 7,000 to 8,000 cases, he now produces more wine there than anyone, including current producers of such pioneer labels as Paul Masson and Martin Ray.

"'No question about it I'm in love with these lovely foothills, even though the old top producers have gone,' Gehrs said. 'I hope my wines not only will revive my label, but the region, too, which I believe still produces some of California's best Cabernet, Zinfandel and Chardonnay.'

"...Marvelously stylized is Zinfandel, 1984, Congress Springs, a wine from the Santa Cruz Mountains' Chaine d'Or district. The beauty of this wine is its appealing, early drinkability, although it has the ability to age. This is a claret-styled Zinfandel that is round and flavorful with a spectacular spicy, Zinfandel nose. Made from low-yield 74-year-old vines, it is very rich and generous, with unobtrusive 13.4% alcohol and features a nice blend of 90% Zinfandel, 4% Carignane and 1% Grenache grapes. Considering the quality, it is inexpensive at $10.

"Bucking the Trend

"I asked Gehrs why he is making red Zinfandel while many other vintners are getting rich on white Zinfandels. 'My passions as a wine lover are not aroused by white Zins, and it seems I will always feel this way,' Gehrs said. 'No matter what the fashions are, I will want to make a red Zinfandel. I also refrained from making a late harvest type when that seemed to be in vogue.'

"Bucking the trend seems to come quite naturally to Gehrs. A prime example is Cabernet Franc, 1984, Santa Cruz Mountains, Chaine d'Or, from old vines which were retrained in a three-acre vineyard. Very few California vintners produce Cabernet Franc as a varietal, but based upon the success of this wine, more may be in the offing. This is a big wine, with greater density and texture than the Zinfandel, not unlike that found in Pomerol with outstanding forward opulence. Blended with 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, there is good backbone and structure, suggesting long-term aging possibilities.

"'I am very fond of the Cabernet Franc grape,' Gehrs said, 'because of the unique varietal character, which in its youth resembles ripe black cherries, with a hint of black peppercorns. I also like how it seems to fit with toasty oak, from its 20 months aging in 4- to 5-year-old 60-gallon French oak, freshly shaved and retoasted.' A fine change of pace red at $12.

"Another trend deviation is Pinot Blanc, 1985, which could well be a style-setter for the variety. This has Chardonnay character, buttery rich, although without any barrel fermentation, in a soft appealing style. Blind tasted, it could well be mistaken for a Chardonnay, especially with its somewhat intrusive 13.2% alcohol and wood tones from eight months of barrel aging in 60-gallon French oak.

"A Personal Pinnacle

"'To me, this wine represents a personal pinnacle in the production of this oftentimes difficult variety,' Gehrs said. 'We succeeded here because the grapes are from two vineyards that have married well, that is 70% from St. Charles, Santa Cruz Mountains Vineyard, and 30% from the San Ysidro, Santa Clara Valley Vineyard.'

"In the overall scheme of white wine making, California has used this variety for sparkling wines and for filling in when more expensive Chardonnay grapes were not as abundant as now. In earlier days, the Pinot Blanc was often referred to as the 'poor man's Chardonnay' with many wineries producing it as a convenient alternative to higher-priced Chardonnay. Expect this wine to age for at least three years, but it is good drinking now at $8.25.

"...Also from the San Ysidro Vineyard is Chardonnay, 1985, representing Gehrs' fourth vintage there. An unassertive, tropical fruit-like nose and taste is featured in this big-structured, lean, long-to-age wine. There is considerable fruit here and a bit of heat in the finish from 13% alcohol. This is a superior Chardonnay from a superior vineyard and harvest, 1985. Gehrs accurately describes the wine's finish as lemony, tart, crisp and with a butterscotch-cream smoothness. The style may not be for everyone but it's a good beginning, at the price of $12.

"An even better Chardonnay, in a leaner, more austere style, definitely suggestive of the old Martin Ray days, is Chardonnay, 1985, from Gehrs' own estate at Saratoga. This is a superb Chardonnay, which, although lean, is rich without being oppressive. There is greater complexity here, and because of the overall quality the $20 tab appears justified.

"Chardonnay Clone

"The wine's quality may be partly due to a Chardonnay clone known as Mt. Eden, whose origins date to Paul Masson's tour of France in 1898 to obtain vine cuttings from his old friend Louis Jadot, the noted negociant from the estate of Corton Charlemagne. The clone was used by both Masson and Ray. Gehrs' estate vineyards, planted in 1977, are just beginning to mature nicely. Santa Clara has a long history with Pinot Noir, too, a fact not overlooked by Gehrs. He does not appreciate the negative comments generally directed to Pinot Noir and feels there is more said and written about the difficulties and problems of California Pinot Noir than about its pleasures and virtues.

"'Let's positively talk and taste Pinot Noir,' he said. Pinot Noir, 1985, Congress Springs, produced 72% from the Santa Clara Valley Vineyards and 28% from Santa Cruz Mountain, is the kind of wine that merits positive talk. This is a big, powerfully structured, yet elegant Pinot Noir that competes well with top California and Oregon Pinot Noirs. It is reasonably priced at $12.

"Gehrs claims that production techniques used to make his Pinot Noir are grounded in awareness of the classic Burgundy method of pigeage , that is, whole cluster fermentation, mixed bodily in the fermenter. Whereas the Burgundians reportedly perform this maneuver in the buff, Gehrs' objective is a gentle treatment of the wine from crushing through bottling.

"Now that Gehrs is the largest wine-making enterprise at Saratoga, he feels a responsibility to maintain the high quality levels of his pioneer predecessors. Gehrs said, 'I guess I am making wine and continuing tradition at the same time.'"

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#159 Post by Wes Barton » July 24th, 2018, 11:51 pm

That's Dave Tong's old wine blog. Geez, seems like I haven't seen him since.....yesterday.

Iirc, that last vintage of the Monte Bello Ruby Cab was '84. Oldest I ever saw was the '68, which was quite good (part of the price of admission for me to weasel in on a Gong of Pour tour with Paul Draper). Have attended a vertical tasting of these, as well as tasting an odd one here and there. I'd say about one out of three vintages aged well, and weren't far below Monte Bello in quality. The rest were weird, with a sort of paste-y muck and sweet Red Vines.
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#160 Post by Drew Goin » July 25th, 2018, 12:26 am

Thanks, Wes!!

I am assuming that the Monte Bello land is of prime value to the Ridge folks, so the Ruby Cabernet vines probably have been ripped out...?

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#161 Post by Wes Barton » July 25th, 2018, 6:21 pm

Drew Goin wrote:Thanks, Wes!!

I am assuming that the Monte Bello land is of prime value to the Ridge folks, so the Ruby Cabernet vines probably have been ripped out...?
Yeah, those vines were "inherited" and they got to the point they didn't make sense. I'd guess they only lasted so long because they were too busy expanding with new plantings and they needed fruit.
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#162 Post by Drew Goin » July 26th, 2018, 1:33 am

Thank you again for the information!!

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#163 Post by Drew Goin » July 29th, 2018, 8:50 pm

I have always associated Storrs Winery & Vineyards with Santa Clara County, although the operation is a "Santa Cruz thing". :P

Nevertheless, Storrs has produced numerous wines from Santa Clara County's remaining old vineyards, including Zinfandel, Petite Syrah, Carignan, Rhône-style blends, and even a Grand Noir.
_20180729_223238.JPG
"Rusty Ridge" Santa Clara Zinfandel vine - from Storrs Winery & Vineyards website
_20180729_223238.JPG (24.63 KiB) Viewed 560 times
Now, the winery has opened its own winery and tasting room in Corralitos:[/b]


Edible Monterey Bay
"Storrs Debut Long-Awaited Pleasant Valley Winery and Tasting Room"
By Laura Ness
July 10, 2018


"Pamela and Steve Storrs have labored long and hard to bring their dream of an organically-farmed vineyard and eco-friendly winery in bucolic Corralitos to fruition. Longtime winemakers, grape growers, land stewards and sheep herders, the couple met at UC Davis and worked at Domaine Chandon, Almaden and Felton-Empire (which later became Hallcrest) before striking out on their own and starting their brand in Santa Cruz in 1988.

"...The couple had always dreamed of owning land, and in 2001 purchased a 56-acre parcel that was primarily an abandoned apple orchard in the Pleasant Valley district of Corralitos. A few of the old apple trees, dating back to the 19th Century, still remain, including a rare winter banana apple. 'Aromatic and short-lived,' says Pam. 'They get mealy really fast,' says Steve. That’s ok, they were in it to farm grapes.

36dd8c8d-bb48-41c0-a5dd-5ad7da01a272.jpg
Storrs "Hidden Springs Vineyard" - from Edible Monterey Bay
36dd8c8d-bb48-41c0-a5dd-5ad7da01a272.jpg (80.82 KiB) Viewed 560 times
"Over the next seven years, they carefully prepared the land, which is a riparian corridor with seasonal springs, removing dead pines, working to restore the stream, adding nutrients back to the soil via years of cover cropping and eventually planting an organically-farmed vineyard in 2007. Fittingly, they named their new estate Hidden Springs.

"Here, there are two clones of Chardonnay–Clones 4 and 17 (also called the Robert Young selection), along with five clones of Pinot Noir, including the Dijon clones 115, 667, 828 as well as Clone 2A and Pommard. The vineyard benefits from the inputs of a flock of Olde English Babydoll sheep that graze during the winter months to promote a more balanced, self-sustaining system.

"...One look at the towering grey-blue barn—which serves as winery, barrel cellar and tasting room—and you know this is something special. Located on the site of a former quarry just off Pleasant Valley Road, the 6,800 square foot structure was built with 2-foot thick walls made of soy-based foam insulation, held in place with steel rebar and covered in concrete.
4b1545d4-a116-473c-bf13-a3a49df7e5cf-2.jpg
New Storrs Winery - from Edible Monterey Bay
4b1545d4-a116-473c-bf13-a3a49df7e5cf-2.jpg (16.25 KiB) Viewed 560 times
"...They plan to open the new tasting room on a regular basis in August. For now, though, they are focused on the 'Taste of Community' benefit this Saturday, July 14. It seems fitting that the two have been hard at work to make this particular event their premiere for the venue. They hope to shine a spotlight on all the ag workers behind this paradise of wine and food in our collective backyards. Raising funds for the Pajaro Valley Community Trust is very important to them, which is why the winemaking couple decided to go all out.

"...Pam is really excited to use the organically-farmed site as a teaching opportunity for home gardeners and small scale farmers—they plan to have a vegetable garden at some point. They already have helpful signage explaining the habitat and wildlife that make this place their home.

"The Storrs plan to retain the Old Sash Mill tasting room in Santa Cruz, and will be moving winery production equipment, barrels and some case goods to the Hidden Springs facility prior to harvest this year. This will give them room to finally expand that tiny spot...."[/i]
notablesStorrs.jpg
"Co-proprietors and winemakers Pamela Bianchini-Storrs
and Steve Storrs" - Photo by Ted Holladay
notablesStorrs.jpg (19.9 KiB) Viewed 560 times
2012 Edible Monterey Bay article: "Storrs Winery's Eco-Eden"

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#164 Post by Sean Devaney » July 30th, 2018, 7:09 am

Thanks for posting this Drew. Steve and Pamela are some of the nicest people in the business and fly way under the radar considering the quality of the wine the have been making over the years. The tasting room is always a must stop for me when over the hill and am looking forward to finally visiting their new winery. [cheers.gif]

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#165 Post by Drew Goin » August 3rd, 2018, 11:14 am

TomHill posted this article on another thread today, and I stole it for this one!


SF Gate
"Eden Rift in Hollister, the Vineyard that Unearthed a Hidden California History"
by Esther Mobley
August 3, 2018


"With just two vintages under its belt, Eden Rift Vineyards is technically a brand-new venture. But the Hollister estate’s owner, Christian Pillsbury, sees himself as the custodian of a very long and unique thread of California history.

"The 500-acre property in San Benito County’s Cienega Valley AVA has had vines planted on it since 1849, making it one of the state’s oldest continually producing vineyards. Not only that: The property had Pinot Noir here in 1849, an extremely rare sighting in an era when most California vineyards were planted to the Mission grape or to haphazard melanges of Zinfandel, Carignan and Alicante Bouschet. Twenty miles from the Pacific Ocean and mere yards from the San Andreas Fault, the Eden Rift property is seamed with limestone, dolomite and quartz — the kinds of soils any winegrower would kill for.

"...As Pietra Santa, the property had been planted to mostly Italian grape varieties. Pillsbury wanted to turn the focus to Pinot Noir — a hot commodity in California these days but also, conveniently, a nod to the land’s history.

"He’s not the first to identify Hollister as prime Pinot Noir land: Just a mile south of Eden Rift lies Calera Wine Co., whose founder, Josh Jensen, a onetime 'Chronicle Winemaker of the Year', zeroed in on Hollister because it holds some of California’s few bands of limestone soils.

920x920.jpg
"Eden Rift Vineyards is a little valley unto itself, nestled below the Gabilan Mountains in Hollister (San Benito County)" - photo by Patrick Tehan
920x920.jpg (25.78 KiB) Viewed 536 times
"Luckily, some of the Eden Rift site was already being converted from grapes like Sangiovese to Pinot Noir under the direction of winemaker Cory Waller, who stayed on board after Pillsbury bought the property. Some of the vineyard’s other, less lucrative remnants — a block of century-old, head-trained Zinfandel vines; Pinot Gris planted on terraces — Pillsbury decided to keep. 'We’re pretty sure this is the only California Pinot Gris on terraces,' Pillsbury says, with a laugh. The fruit is extremely low-yielding and expensive to farm, which the $32 bottle price probably doesn’t justify. But he likes the wine, so the vines remain.

"Pillsbury takes advantage of every opportunity to emphasize his intention to guard this property’s history. When asked why he wanted to buy a vineyard in the first place, he brings up the string of family-owned wine estates that have sold to larger companies in recent years. 'Homogeneity is coming and it’s not healthy,' he says. 'I just wanted to make sure that one of these places stayed iconoclastic for the next generation.'

"He couldn’t have known when he bought the land that Calera, Eden Rift’s neighbor and geological sibling, would be the next one to sell.

"...If a winery from this area — the no-man’s-land of San Benito County, a forgettable pause between Silicon Valley and Monterey — was to become famous, Pillsbury says, 'it had to become famous in its own right,' as Calera did. Pillsbury is trying to shift that. 'We’re trying to embrace where we are,' he says, elevating not just Eden Rift but its surrounds, too.

"In fact, San Benito seems poised to be having a moment. Randall Grahm’s experimental vineyard, 'Popelouchum', is generating some attention in San Juan Bautista, the next town over. More young winemakers are working with the 'Wirz Vineyard' here in the Cienega Valley, one of California’s great parcels of old-vine Riesling. And few vineyards in California right now are as hot a commodity as 'Enz', the source of some stellar old-vine Mourvedres from Sandlands, I. Brand and Dirty & Rowdy.

It seems fitting, then, that Eden Rift’s winemaker is a Hollister native. Waller knew about the Eden Rift property before San Benito was cool. 'My brother and I had always been eyeing this place,' Waller says. His brother Mike is the winemaker at Calera.
460x1240.jpg
"A quarry just up the hill from Eden Rift mines limestone, which is also found in the vineyard. This quarry supplied much of the stone for the recent construction of Apple’s headquarters" - photo by Patrick Tehan
460x1240.jpg (11.42 KiB) Viewed 536 times
"So far the Eden Rift wines are promising, though they still feel like a work in progress. Waller has a serious Pinot Noir pedigree, having previously worked at Bergstrom, Soter and Etude. His 2017 Pinot lots — tasted from barrel, not yet blended or bottled — are spicy and generous, some showing red fruit and baking spices, while others emphasize fresh herbs. The most complete, so far, is the Q Block Pinot, from a terraced section, which tastes textured and quite tannic, earthy and blue-fruited.

"But I suspect the Eden Rift star will not be Pinot Noir at all. It’s the property’s Chardonnay that is, so far, its most intriguing output. The 2016, already released, is rich and butterscotchy but taut, restrained. (Waller made the 2016s from start to finish, but Pillsbury had not yet purchased the property at the time the grapes were harvested.) And 2017 barrel samples are even better, especially a selection from the old Wente clone, marked by lemon verbena and bright, pithy acidity.

"If Pillsbury’s interpretation of the Eden Rift story is not yet fully formed, that’s probably as it should be. After all, he’s been here just a year and a half. The simple fact that a place like Eden Rift exists — a historical site that somehow, in the year 2018, remains a kind of blank slate — is a comfort in today’s California, where it can often feel as if our wine rules have been prematurely written...."[/i]


Eden Rift Vineyards website: https://www.edenrift.com


Personally, I take issue with the author's statement that this area is a "blank slate", especially after spending a considerable amount of time illustrating the historical significance of the region.

"Iconoclastic" Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, as well as the Italianate vibe of the estate's former tenure under the Gimelli family's destination/winery hardly sound like tributes to the legacy of San Benito wine grape-growing.
:|

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#166 Post by Wes Barton » August 3rd, 2018, 1:59 pm

Like Chalone, it's quite warm for PN and Chard. That said, soil usually trumps that. Look at Calera. The highs are quite high, but there's also the occasional vintage that shows the heat. Razor's edge. Vista Verde is some of my Williams-Selyem friends' favorite bottling from them.

Basically, that's an argument to hedge more on the plantings. More true legacy varieties would make their tasting room more compelling. (What they grow to sell is a different equation.) Speaking for myself - not exactly a typical consumer - I went straight to their website the moment I heard about them. When I saw what they were doing my interest dropped to zero.
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Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#167 Post by Drew Goin » August 8th, 2018, 8:38 am

Gilroy Dispatch
"Wildfire Contained Off Hecker Pass Road"
by Bryce Stoepfel
August 6, 2018


"A late afternoon eight-acre wildfire on both sides of Watsonville Road that threatened vineyards and homes west of Gilroy was reported approximately 60 percent contained within an hour.

"Fast-acting fire crews reported the blaze between two Hecker Pass vineyards was 60 percent contained as of 5:45pm Monday.

“'We have multiple units here,' said Santa Clara County Fire Chief Derek Witmer. 'It’s been on both sides of Watsonville Road, and it’s been spotted multiple times on Honeycomb Lane and out to Hecker Pass.'

"...Firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 4:45pm. Four air tankers, two helicopters and multiple crews and equipment from Gilroy, CalFire, Watsonville and Santa Clara County departments battled the blaze in windy conditions. They carved a dozer line around the fire to aid containment and protect nearby homes and vineyards.

"Because of dry grass and winds, firefighters worked to contain spot fires sporadically ignited by falling embers.
DSC_2551-696x464.jpg
"As of 5:45 the Santa Clara County Fire Department said that the fire on Watsonville Road was 60 percent contained." - Photo by Bryce Stoepfel
DSC_2551-696x464.jpg (19.19 KiB) Viewed 519 times
"...'It’s a little too close for comfort,' said Jill Fortino of the fire near Fortino Winery, immediately west and south of the blaze. Sarah’s Vineyard is just east of the fire location."

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Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#168 Post by Drew Goin » August 9th, 2018, 3:04 pm

I found this unexpected picture on the Bedrock Wine Company website...

36600664_353375155195167_3054789897232580608_n.jpg
Sky Vineyards 2017 "Wirz Vineyard" Riesling - Photo from the Bedrock website
36600664_353375155195167_3054789897232580608_n.jpg (29.1 KiB) Viewed 513 times
Sky Vineyards 2017 "Wirz Vineyard" Riesling Cienega Valley

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#169 Post by Drew Goin » August 21st, 2018, 1:05 pm

Ryan of STiRM Winery is offering to mailing list members two new San Benito wines among the 2018 Fall Release. I strongly recommend that lovers of "Wirz Vineyard" and San Benito County wines sign up for the email list!


"...We are also debuting two wines from San Benito County; a 2016 field blend red and a 2017 Rosé. The Rosé, that is more focused on structure, and is a blend of both Zinfandel and Riesling from the dry-farmed 'Wirz Vineyard', also a 2017 wine. The red, from Los Chuchaquis (one of our other projects), from the Lime Kiln Valley, and is a blend of 6 varieties (Mataro, Carignan, Mission, Cabernet Pfeffer, Muscat, Palomino), picked together and fermented whole cluster from the 2016 vintage. Named 'Tiburcio Vazquez' after a famous bandito who looted a store in Paicines, the town closest to this vineyard.


"2017 Cienega Valley Rosé


17+CV+Rose+Front.jpg
STiRM 'Wirz Vineyard' Rose Cienega Valley

"Vintage Summary
The 2017 growing season was characterized by our El Nino condiions, better than average winter rainfall returning to the Cienega Valley. This resulted in a recovery year for the vines, with stronger growth, and a decent yield increase. A fairly cool spring and summer was brought to a halt with erratic heat spikes starting in the beginning of September. The rest of the month had great ripening conditions. The grapes were harvested on September 9th and 10th.

"Winemaking
The grapes were picked by hand. At the winery the grapes were given 4 hours of whole cluster maceration to extract tannins, aroma, and flavor compounds in the skins, followed by pressing the grapes. No sulfur was added to allow the juice to oxidize. After a 36 hour cold settle in tank, the clean juice was racked off the solids to another tank for spontaneous fermentation. The wine was sulfured post completion of secondary fermentation with elevage in tank on fine lees. Racked off fine lees a month prior to bottling. Unfined and unfiltered. The only addition we ever use is sulfur. Bottled July 5th, 2018. 53 cases produced.

"WINE STATS
Varietal Composition: Zinfandel (55%), Riesling (40%), Mission (5%)
Brix at harvest: 21.0
Titratable Acidity: 6.9 g/L
pH: 3.19
Residual Sugar: 0.0 g/L
Alcohol: 13.0%"




"2016 Los Chuchaquis 'Tiburcio Vazquez' Lime Kiln Valley Red Wine

Tiburcio+front+label.jpg
Los Chuchaquis 'Tiburcio Vazquez' Lime Kiln Valley Red Wine

"Vintage Summary
The 2016 growing season was characterized by better than average winter rainfall returning to the Lime Kiln Valley, because of the persistent El Nino conditions. This resulted in a recovery year for the vines, with stronger growth, but no yield increase. Cool nights were the norm throughout August, with a heat spike in early September to finish off ripening. The grapes were harvested on September 26th.

"Winemaking
The grapes were picked by hand, sorted in the field. At the winery the grapes were hand sorted into a 2 ton fermenters, one 100% whole cluster, one 100% destemmed. Pumped over once daily, pressed after a 10 day fermentation. Elevage in old (10 years) barriques for 18 months. Racked to stainless for four months prior to bottling. Unfined, unfiltered. Bottled July 5, 2018. 94 cases produced.

"Wine Stats
Brix at harvest: 23.0
Titratable Acidity: 7.9 g/L
pH: 3.56
Residual Sugar: 0.0 g/L
Alcohol: 13.8%"


The STiRM/Los Chuchaquis "Tiburcio Vazquez" Red Wine is made up of Mataro, Carignan, Mission, Cabernet Pfeffer, Muscat, and Palomino.


STiRM Winery website: https://www.stirmwine.com

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#170 Post by Drew Goin » August 21st, 2018, 1:15 pm

Though the article is part of a promotion for a few bottles of wine (since sold-out), I learned a little extra about Ryan Stirm of STiRM and Graham Tatomer of Tatomer Wines. The piece is worth a quick read:


Viticole Wine
"Next-Gen California: East of Eden"
June 1, 2018

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#171 Post by Drew Goin » August 25th, 2018, 9:16 pm

The Santa Clara Wine Association recently added a few more features to it's website, including the following video:


Santa Clara Wine Association website: http://www.santaclarawines.com

SCWA News: http://www.santaclarawines.com/news.html

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#172 Post by Drew Goin » August 26th, 2018, 3:53 pm

This blog post is from 2014, during the earlier days of the on-going California drought. I was impressed with some of the photographs and the (sort of) local perspective:

140102-cienega-ag-007.jpg
Cienega Valley - from TMCM Blog

Town Mouse Country Mouse Blog
"Cienega Valley - January in a Drought Year"
by "County Mouse"
January 28, 2014


"Normally it would be lush along Cienega Valley in January, a chance to see the rolling golden cattle-grazing hills in their almost fluorescent green state.

"...These endless warm, sunny days have a nightmarish quality — it's difficult for me to simply enjoy the very human-friendly warmth and brightness. 'Time is out of joint.'


cienega-valley-vineyards.jpg
"Lots of vineyards here. Not looking too healthy in this picture. I wonder if they'll survive?" - photo from TMCM Blog

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#173 Post by Drew Goin » August 27th, 2018, 9:03 pm

Precedent Wines from Mr Nathan Kandler are the focus of this report from retailer K&L Wines:



K&L "On the Trail"
"A New Entrant into Old-Vine Winemaking"
by Thomas Smith
April 12, 2018


"...Two wines from a new label named Precedent stopped me in my tracks...The second, a White blend from 'Wirz Vineyard', had the soaring aromatics of a Riesling with bright acid and an incredibly expressive minerality.

kandler.png
Nathan Kandler - from the K&L On the Trail article

"...Located in the Cienega Valley just a few miles south of the city of Hollister, Kandler’s block is dominated by Riesling planted in 1952. 'It’s a really challenging site because it’s dry farmed. So there’s no water. It’s really interesting to see a vineyard that is so at the whim of mother nature, swinging back and forth. The wines from the dry years are so intense, but the ‘17 is in more of an elegant style.' Tasting the ‘17 in barrel, I was struck by gorgeous notes of kaffir lime, a brightly focused acidity and an extraordinary weight and depth on the palate. I found the wine totally unique and delicious, driven equally by minerality and fruit.

"...After tasting through Kandler’s wines, I’m convinced Precedent belongs on the short list of old-vine winemakers who deliver exceptional quality.

"...I asked Kandler what was next for Precedent. 'There’s a lot more land left to be explored in Lodi. You can make the wines at really good price points. I want to make wines that somebody like me would want to buy.'"



Precedent Wines website: http://www.precedentwine.com

glass.png
Precedent's "Wirz Vineyard" Riesling - from the K&L On the Trail article
Last edited by Drew Goin on August 29th, 2018, 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#174 Post by Wes Barton » August 28th, 2018, 9:49 pm

Drew Goin wrote:
August 27th, 2018, 9:03 pm
K&L "On the Trail"
"A New Entrant into Old-Vine Winemaking"
April 12, 2018
Thomas Smith wrote that. First met him a few years ago when he interned at the the Roar facility - all the winemakers who were in there shared the interns, so it was a good place for the kiddos. Last time I saw him, at K&L, I was saying how good the Halcon Elevacion is. Oh yeah... he knew, since he had his hands in it. He also mentioned he was doing interviews for K&L and really enjoying it. He's at Big Basin for harvest this year. They source a lot from the Coastview Vyd., which is spitting distance from San Benito...
ITB - Useless lackey

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#175 Post by Ken Zinns » August 28th, 2018, 10:04 pm

Wes Barton wrote:
August 28th, 2018, 9:49 pm
Drew Goin wrote:
August 27th, 2018, 9:03 pm
K&L "On the Trail"
"A New Entrant into Old-Vine Winemaking"
April 12, 2018
Thomas Smith wrote that. First met him a few years ago when he interned at the the Roar facility - all the winemakers who were in there shared the interns, so it was a good place for the kiddos. Last time I saw him, at K&L, I was saying how good the Halcon Elevacion is. Oh yeah... he knew, since he had his hands in it. He also mentioned he was doing interviews for K&L and really enjoying it. He's at Big Basin for harvest this year. They source a lot from the Coastview Vyd., which is spitting distance from San Benito...
Yes, Thomas is a nice guy and seems to have a very good palate. Precedent is one of those under-the-radar labels that deserves more attention than it gets. It's actually not that new of a label - it's been around for 10 years or so - but Nathan doesn't make very much. He poured the 2015 Wirz Vineyard Old Vine White (Riesling) and 2015 Evangelho Vineyard Zinfandel at this spring's Historic Vineyard Society Tasting in San Francisco, and both were among my favorites of the event.
ITB, Harrington Wines & Eno Wines, and Grape-Nutz.com

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#176 Post by Drew Goin » August 29th, 2018, 7:27 pm

Wes Barton wrote:
August 28th, 2018, 9:49 pm
Drew Goin wrote:
August 27th, 2018, 9:03 pm
K&L "On the Trail"
"A New Entrant into Old-Vine Winemaking"
April 12, 2018
Thomas Smith wrote that. First met him a few years ago when he interned at the the Roar facility - all the winemakers who were in there shared the interns, so it was a good place for the kiddos. Last time I saw him, at K&L, I was saying how good the Halcon Elevacion is. Oh yeah... he knew, since he had his hands in it. He also mentioned he was doing interviews for K&L and really enjoying it. He's at Big Basin for harvest this year. They source a lot from the Coastview Vyd., which is spitting distance from San Benito...

Thanks for pointing out that I'd missed citing the author. :)

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#177 Post by Drew Goin » August 30th, 2018, 4:30 pm

According to the following article, Ian Brand and his wife Heather have a home for showcasing their various wines:

I. Brand & Family
1 E. Carmel Valley Rd.
Carmel Valley, CA 93924
831-298-7227


The Press
"I. Brand & Family: Once Exclusive Wines Now Made Accessible"
by Matt Kettmann


"...Until recently, it was hard to taste these wines on a regular basis. But in November 2017, I. Brand & Family opened a tasting room in the Carmel Valley, at the southern end of a low-slung strip mall that mostly houses other tasting rooms. Black stools screw up and down against a brushed metal bar, where Steinbeck books sit in a pile on one end and large lights hang overheard. On the wall is a huge geologic map of California, and there are rocks from various vineyards on the shelves in the back, next to the collection of vinyl. Board games can be played at the dining table in the adjacent room, where black and white photographs of surfers and kelp provide decoration, or a glass of wine can be enjoyed in the rocking chairs on the front porch.

"The tastings are $14 and include six wines, which are a blend of the three brands."


Website for I. Brand & Family, Le P'tit Paysan, and La Marea Wines: http://lppwines.com

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#178 Post by Drew Goin » September 11th, 2018, 6:46 pm

I would like to think that I source information about my favorite wine regions from reliable, up-to-date websites, articles, books and such. Having said this, sometimes I am only able to get certain bits of data from retailer promotional emails, travel service sites, etc.


Calwineries
"The History of Lime Kiln Wine Country"


"The region gets its name from the many lime kilns that once dotted the landscape. They took advantage of the abundant limestone in the ground. Between 1890 and 1910, Henry Cowell operated the Cowell Lime Company.

"In 1967, Bob and Susan Enz arrived with their four children. They bought about 300 acres in the idyllic Lime Kiln Valley. 15 of these acres were planted with the original vines planted in 1887. Two of Henry Cowell’s lime kilns are still on the property.

"...The Lime Kiln AVA was established in 1982...."


_________________________________________________________________________________


"Establishment of the Lime Kiln Valley Viticultural Area"
[T.D. ATF-106; Ref: Notice Nos. 352 and 387]
47 FR 24295, June 4, 1982
(download)
Lime Kiln AVA Final Rule.pdf
Official Ruling for "Lime Kiln AVA"
(25.24 KiB) Downloaded 1 time

"...Evidence Relating to the Name

"The area derived its name from a number of lime kilns built in the area. Many of the kilns were in operation prior to 1910. Witnesses testified that this particular valley, although a portion of the larger Cienega Valley, has always been distinct and known as Lime Kiln Valley. Furthermore, on September 6, 1977, the County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a resolution which formally named the area 'Lime Kiln Valley'. Vineyards were planted in this area in 1887, and the history of San Benito County relates to vine cuttings brought from France and obtained by the Spanish padres in the area. The Enz Vineyards and winery has been producing and marketing wine referring to a Lime Kiln Valley appellation since the early 1970's.

"One commenter stated the name 'Lime Kiln Valley' is not an historical name for the area and noted that the name 'Lime Kiln Valley' does not appear on any U.S.G.S. maps of the area.

"After evaluating the information contained in the petition and the comments received, ATF believes the historical and current evidence does support the name 'Lime Kiln Valley' as a distinct viticultural area.

"Geographical Evidence

"In accordance with 27 CFR 4.25a(e)(2), a viticultural area should possess geographical features which distinguish it from surrounding areas.

"With the amended boundaries, the area averages about 16 inches of rainfall a year. Witnesses stated this amount is slightly higher than the surrounding areas, which average about 15 inches per year.

"Winter temperatures average well below freezing, while the summer temperatures vary from 85-95 degrees during the day and drop to about 45-50 degrees at night. Witnesses further stated that these temperatures are cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer than the surrounding areas.

"The soil in Lime Kiln Valley is basically a sandy and gravelly loam overlying bedrock of dolomite and limestone.

"One commenter stated that the climate, topography, and soil of the proposed 'Lime Kiln Valley' viticultural area was not distinct from the larger Cienega Valley. In addition, this commenter stated that the proposed area was too small to be of any consequence and its approval as a viticultural area would create a de facto monopoly.

"Based on the evidence discussed earlier, ATF believes the written and oral testimony supports the fact that the
Lime Kiln Valley exhibits distinct geophysical and climatic characteristics and is distinguishable as a separate valley from the larger, more generally defined, Cienega Valley. The size of an area and whether or not it creates a de facto monopoly are not criteria in determining the distinctiveness of a proposed area. Therefore, ATF is establishing the Lime Kiln Valley as a viticultural area...."

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#179 Post by Drew Goin » September 11th, 2018, 7:03 pm

lime-kiln-valley-ava1.jpg
Location of the Lime Kiln Valley AVA - from Wayward Wine Blog

Wayward Wine Blog
"Mourvedre Part 3: Wine Review of Kenneth Volk, Mourvèdre, Enz Vineyard, Lime Kiln Valley, California 2012"
Author?
January 22, 2018


"Lime Kiln Valley sits like a Russian doll in the Cienega Valley, which sits in San Benito County, in Montery, in Central California, in California, in America (*phew). Lime Kiln Valley lives up to its name: rich with limestone and dolomite. Temperatures range an extreme 50 degrees. The perfect recipe for torturing vines to make quality grapes.

And only one family farms Lime Kiln Valley: The Enz family. They started in 1895, and planted Mourverdre 1922: one of the oldest Mourvedre vineyards anywhere. Currently there are 40 acres of vineyards, including a 15 acre parcel of head-trained Mourvèdre...."


_20180911_205606.JPG
Zoom in on the Lime Kiln Valley - from Wayward Wine Blog

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#180 Post by Drew Goin » September 11th, 2018, 9:21 pm

The following is from the ATF (now known as TTB) ruling on the establishment of the "Cienega Valley AVA".


"Cienega Valley Viticultural Area"
[T.D. ATF-109; Ref: Notice No. 376]
47 FR 36125, August 19, 1982 (download)
Cienega Valley AVA Final Rule.pdf
"Cienega Valley AVA Ruling" - from ATF/TTB
(25.95 KiB) Downloaded 1 time

"...Historical and Current Evidence of the Name

"The name of the area, Cienega Valley, was well documented by the petitioner. After evaluating the petition, ATF believes that the Cienega Valley viticultural area has a unique historical identity and that the name 'Cienega Valley' is the most appropriate name for the area.

"Geographical Evidence

"In accordance with 27 CFR 4.25a(e)(2), a viticultural area should possess geographical features which distinguish the viticultural features of the area from surrounding areas.

"Cienega Valley is located at the base of the Gabilan Mountain Range which rises to 3,274 feet and forms a
boundary line between San Benito and Monterey Counties. The Pescadero Creek runs through the vineyards and the San Andreas earthquake fault line borders the northeast edge. Cienega Valley lies approximately 5 miles south, overland, from the town of Hollister. On the east is the Paicines Vineyards. The Cienega Valley area is planted with hundreds of acres of vineyards consisting of numerous varieties of grapes.

"Cienega Valley lies northeast of the Salinas Valley which is known as a cooler area and is often blanketed with fog. Salinas Valley strongly influences the micro-climate of the Cienega Valley by sending cooler air and fog into the Cienega grape-growing region. The terrain is extremely hilly to mountainous and the elevation ranges from approximately 930 feet to well over 1,500 feet. The average elevation in the Cienega Valley area is higher than much of the surrounding area including Paicines.

"Due to the closeness of the Cienega Valley area to the Gabilan Mountain Range, Cienega Valley often has more rain than the surrounding area, thus creating different micro-climatic conditions. Rainfall averages 15.29 inches per year based on 53 years of records. There is some dry farming around the winery. However, water coming down out of the Gabilan Mountains into the Pescadero Creek is used for irrigation of a portion of the vineyards.

"The Cienega Valley area is in a wind tunnel of cool ocean air flowing to the San Joaquin Valley. Trees growing adjacent to the vineyard area help protect the area from the wind. Also, Cienega Valley is protected from the wind due to the location of its eastwest canyons. Cienega Valley gets more evening fog than much of the surrounding area because of its location at the foot of the Gabilan Mountains. This fog usually burns off by early morning. Over the last four years, the temperature in Cienega Valley has averaged 2,861 degree-days as classified by the University of California at Davis system of heat summation by degree-days.

"The soil in Cienega Valley is loamy, generally well drained, and often underlain by weathered granite. The main soil associations of the flood plains and alluvial fans are Sorrento-Yolo-Mocho and Clear Lake-Pacheco-Williams. The soil associations on the uplands are the San Benito-Gazos-Linne association and the Sheridan-Cineba-Auberry association. In general there is good water holding capacity and the root depth ranges from medium to quite deep...."




I am curious about the "wind tunnel" effects on the vineyards of the Cienega Valley. As per the ATF/TTB document, Cienega Valley's heat is tempered by evening fog and the east-west canyons, thus falling under Region II (almost Region III) status on the UC Davis heat summation scale.

The broad scope of grape varieties that is found throughout this AVA, and San Benito County in general, might best be explained by the elements unique to each site within the area.

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#181 Post by Drew Goin » September 11th, 2018, 9:58 pm

I find it strange that the San Benito AVA was established after the Lime Kiln AVA and Cienega Valley AVA.



"Establishment of Viticultural Area; San Benito"
[T.D. ATF-258; Ref. Notice No. 628]
52 FR 37135, October 5, 1987 (download)
San Benito AVA Establishment Final Rule.pdf

"...Petition

"ATF received a petition from Almaden Vineyards, proposing that a portion of San Benito County, California, be established as a viticultural area to be known as 'San Benito'. The area is located along and near the San Benito River, approximately two miles south of Hollister, California.

"The area contains about 45,000 acres of land, of which approximately 2,500 are planted to grapes. The petitioner stated that at least three major wineries are operating within the area, and that approximately 23 different varieties of winegrapes are grown there.

"The area is located inside the approved 'Central Coast' viticultural area, and contains within it the approved
'Paicines,' 'Cienega Valley,' and 'Lime Kiln Valley' areas. (See the discussion of overlapping viticultural areas below, under 'Boundaries of the Area'.)

"...Name of the Area

"The association of the name 'San Benito' with the new viticultural area goes back far into history. The San Benito River flows through the area, and one of the principal streets of nearby Hollister was already called 'San Benito Street' in 1874, when the surrounding territory, including the viticultural area, was organized as 'San Benito County'. (See Crimes and Career of Tiburcio Vasquez, San Benito County Historical Society, pp. nine and seventeen.) The town of San Benito is about 15 miles southeast of the area, and San Benito Mountain is about 30 miles farther southeast, near the source of the San Benito River and the eastern boundary of San Benito County.

"The history of viticulture in the area was described by John P. Ohrwall in a talk given to the San Benito County
Historical Society on July 29, 1965.
A copy of the talk was submitted to ATF by the petitioner. In that talk, Mr. Ohrwall related that the first vineyard in San Benito County was planted near the new viticultural area by Theophile Vache in the early 1850's. Other vineyards were planted too, and the area where vineyards were sited became known locally as the 'Vineyard District'. Before the end of the nineteenth century, the vineyard planted by Vache had been named 'San Benito Vineyard,' and, under that name, wines made in the area "were said to have won prizes at various expositions and fairs, including some held in France and Italy" (quote from Ohrwall). Gradually, additional vineyards and wineries were established. In the 1950's, Almaden Vineyards arrived and began greatly expanding the area's grape acreage.

Almaden soon became the dominant grape grower in the area.

Unfortunately, the original vineyard planted by Theophile Vache is no longer in production, because the soil in that
vicinity has become permeated with boron salts. (See the discussion of boron below, under 'Geography of the Area'.) Thus, the original 'San Benito Vineyard' is excluded from the new viticultural area for a geographical reason, but the name that this vineyard gave to the area remains.

Although there are some scattered grape plantings elsewhere is San Benito County, by far the preponderance ofviticulture in that county is practiced in the viticultural area established by this Treasury decision. According to the petitioner, 95 percent of the vinifera grapes from San Benito County are grown in this area. The other 5 percent are grown in other areas with different climates, according to the petitioner, who declared, 'We are not aware of any other area within San Benito County that could be known as "San Benito" or that would have comparable climatic and growing
conditions.' ATF agrees with these assertions, since it appears likely that much of the other 5 percent of the vinifera in San Benito County is planted in the already-established 'Pacheco Pass' viticultural area (located north of Hollister, straddling the border of San Benito and Santa Clara Counties)...."




I will search for more information about John P. Ohrwall as well as the San Benito County Historical Society.

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Drew Goin
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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#182 Post by Drew Goin » September 11th, 2018, 10:32 pm

Here are a few Resources I have located:


San Benito County Historical Society website:
https://www.sbchistoricalsociety.org/home.html


Old & Sold Archive: A View of California Wines & Wineries - "San Benito County"
http://www.oldandsold.com/articles02/santaclara6.shtml


San Benito County Water District Board 2018 - Landowners in San Benito County:
https://sites.google.com/site/sbcwateri ... ito-county


CalWineries: San Benito County
http://www.calwineries.com/explore/regi ... ito-county


Central Coast Foodie site: "Central Coast American Viticulture Areas"
http://centralcoastfoodie.com/central-c ... ure-areas/


SanBenitoLimeKilnAVA_thumb-520x245.jpg
San Benito County Sub-Appellations - from Central Coast Foodie site, originally from WineMaps

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#183 Post by Drew Goin » September 12th, 2018, 5:58 am

I will admit to occasionally equating the Paicines area with Cienega Valley (or the other way around). [scratch.gif] Uh uh:


"Paicines Viticultural Area"

[T.D. ATF-108; Ref: Notice No. 379]
47 FR 35480, August 16, 1982 (download)
Paicines Final Rule.pdf

"...Historical and Current Evidence of the Name

"The name of the area, Paicines, was well documented by the petitioner. After evaluating the petition, ATF believes that the Paicines viticultural area has a unique historical identity and that the name Paicines is the most appropriate name for the area.

"Geographical Evidence

"In accordance with 27 CFR 4.25a(e)(2), a viticultural area should possess geographical features which distinguish the viticultural features of the area from surrounding areas.

"Paicines is located about 17 miles north of Pinnacles National Monument and Park and consists of about 4,500 acres of grape-growing area. On the western side are the Cienega Vineyards and the Gabilan Mountain Range which separate Paicines from San Lucas and King City. The San Luis Dam and Pacheco are on the northeast side, and new Idria and the Panoche Valley are on the eastern edge. The San Benito River forms a portion of the western boundary and continues on through the vineyards.

"The Paicines area is in a wind tunnel of cool ocean air flowing to the San Joaquin Valley. Because of the relative lack of trees adjacent to the vineyard areas, the Paicines area is open to the direct influence of these winds. In the afternoon, Paicines takes advantage of the slight cooling breeze that comes in off the Monterey Valley. At night Paicines is more protected from the evening fog than much of the surrounding area because of its open location. However, during periods of extremely heavy fog, the Paicines area holds the fog longer than much of the nearby area, including Cienega Valley.

"Elevation ranges from 500 feet to 1,200 feet above sea level. The average elevation is lower than much of the
surrounding area which is closer to the Gabilan Mountain Range. The rainfall pattern in the Paicines area differs greatly from the area surrounding the Gabilan Mountain Range. Due to the greater distance of the Paicines area from the Gabilan Mountains, Paicines often gets less rain than much of the area closer to the Gabilan Mountain Range. Annual rainfall in the Paicines area is between 12 and 15 inches.

"During winter the relative humidity in the Paicines area is more than 50 percent most of the time. In spring the
relative humidity averages 60 to 75 percent at night and 40 to 50 percent during the day. Summers are quite dry; the average relative humidity in the daytime is about 20 to 25 percent. In fall, readings of 45 to 60 percent are common at night, but during the day readings generally range from 30 to 50 percent. The 10-year average temperature is around 2750 degree-days.

"The Paicines area is comprised of various soil associations including Sorrento, Mocho, Clear Lake, Willows, Rincon, Antioch, Diablo, Soper, San Benito and Linne. The various soils in this area are generally well drained, of various depths, and root zones are quite deep. There are some steady alluvial fans and terrace escarpments with rapid runoff...."



From the Puma Road website:

"The Paicines AVA (American Viticultural Area) in San Benito County is a hidden gemstone in the world of wine. Although not the most commonly known, it is the seventh oldest of more than 120 distinct AVAs in California, and produces unique varietals and award winning wines of exquisite quality.

"Paicines sits directly east of Monterey County, just on the eastern flank of the Gavilan Mountains.

"...The soils and climate of this area are similar to certain areas of the Mediterranian: mineral-rich and generally semi-arid. The dry heat of Paicines creates big, bold wines with hints of spice and minerality from the abundance of quartz in the soil."

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#184 Post by Drew Goin » September 12th, 2018, 6:33 am

CalWineries website
"Paicines Wine Country"


"...Paicines Wine Country has the warmest climate in San Benito County. One of the major reasons for this heat is the fact that the AVA is less elevated than other nearby wine regions. This causes vineyards to stay warmer overnight, but coastal breezes sill cool the region enough for high-quality grape growing.

"The terrain of Paicines Wine Country is the main reason for these cooling breezes. The 4,500 acre wine region acts as a funnel for coastal wind moving east to Central Valley. The San Benito River runs through the region and has deposited alluvium into the soils over the years."




CalWineries website
"The Impact of Climate on Paicines Grape Growing"


"There are large temperature swings from day to night in the Paicines AVA. It has been known to drop from over 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day to under 50 degrees at night.

"This is one of the driest wine regions in California. Annual rainfall is only about 12 inches a year; several times lower than most other AVAs in the state. It is particularly dry in fall, right before harvest. This allows growers to let their grapes hang on the vine for a substantial period of time. Humidity is extremely low, and is rarely over 25% in the day during the growing season.

"Wind is the most important climatic feature of Paicines...."



Additional Paicines AVA Info on CalWineries website:

"The Soil & Terrain of Paicines Wine Country"

"Paicines Wine Country History"

"Wineries in Paicines"

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#185 Post by Drew Goin » September 16th, 2018, 12:32 pm

Anyone interested in reading the history of the families, towns, etc, of the Santa Clara/Santa Cruz region should check out the following information source:


Mariposa Research: The Valley of Heart's Delight site
"THOMAS AND HENRIETTE PELLIER CASALEGNO"
- Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County, California, published by Historic Record Co., 1922. page 471


Henriette Pellier Casalegno, whose second husband was Thomas Casalegno, was the widow of John Mirassou, and the couple's biographies printed on this webpage explore some of the Pellier family's work with importing grapevines into Santa Clara County, California.



More Biographies of the California's Pioneer Families of Santa Clara County:
http://www.mariposaresearch.net/santacl ... icles.html


History of Santa Clara County:
http://www.mariposaresearch.net/santacl ... index.html

• Website Search Results for "Vineyards":
http://search.freefind.com/find.html?id ... =Vineyards

Example:

"Thomas Kerwin...is the owner of a beautiful farm of 100 acres, on the Saratoga and Mountain View road, in the Lincoln School District, about five miles southwest of Santa Clara. Sixty-five acres are in vineyard, producing the following varieties of wine grapes: Cabernets, Malbec, Golden Chasselas, Grenache, Carignan, Matero, Zinfandel, Trousseau, and Charbano...."

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#186 Post by Drew Goin » September 27th, 2018, 4:20 pm

Here is a link to a 2014 Wine Berserkers thread for Mr TomHill's TN of the 1989 "Clos du Gilroy" from Bonny Doon as well as (older & newer) talk on the "Besson Vineyard":


"TN: BonnyDoon Clos de Gilroy Grenache '89...(short/boring)"


Some current producers of "Besson" vineyard-designated wines:

A Tribute to Grace: Grenache

Birichino: Grenache, Zinfandel, "NV Hommage a Georges Besson" (solera system, appassimento-style Grenache)

Calera: Chardonnay

Carini: Grenache (inaugural release just made available)

La Marea: Grenache

Sarah's Vineyard: Syrah, Zinfandel

Stephania: Syrah


Other wineries who have offered vineyard-designated "Besson" reds and whites in the recent past: Monte Verde Winery (2009 Grenache), Odonata (Grenache Blanc, Grenache, Syrah), etc.



Edible Silicon Valley
"Great Wine Starts in the Vineyard"
by Mary Orlin
August 22, 2018

_20180927_181841.JPG
"Besson Vineyard" - from Edible Silicon Valley article
_20180927_181841.JPG (9.62 KiB) Viewed 283 times

"...'Besson Vineyard', Santa Clara Valley 118-Year-Old-Vine Grenache"

"...Third-generation grower George Besson Jr. looks out over the 30-acre vineyard his grandfather bought in the 1940s in the Santa Clara Valley. 'You’ve got to baby these grapes, they’ve been around so long,' he says.

"Eleven of the 30 acres are 118-year-old Grenache vines planted on the Valley floor in 1910. They’ve been dry farmed and organically farmed ever since. 'Besson Vineyard' is one of Santa Clara Valley’s few remaining heritage vineyards, and the family works hard to preserve vines that produce more concentrated, elegant wines.

"... The Besson family sells their Grenache grapes to local wineries. But there was a time when Grenache was not an easy sell. Then Bonny Doon winemaker Randall Grahm came along. Randall bought fruit from the Bessons for about 25 years under a long-term contract, when no one else was offering that.

“'I remember him understanding the value of what we were doing and how that culminated into the bottle,' says Besson’s daughter, Denise. 'That was a big deal for our family. As farmers, it’s an ebb and flow and a struggle. There are some years you are paid top dollar a ton and other years you get less.'

"...'When people say "Oh, that’s too expensive for a bottle of wine,"' George says, 'they don’t realize all the love and care that goes into that bottle.'..."



Article Gallery

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#187 Post by Drew Goin » September 27th, 2018, 7:00 pm

One mysterious, newer producer sourcing fruit from the old vineyards in San Benito County is Kobza Wines. I have not received any response to an email I sent a little while back.


The following article has probably been discussed in this thread before, but, as it is one of the few pieces on Mr Ryan Kobza's winery, I must make use of it here.*


SF Gate
"The New Taste of Monterey County Wine"
By Mark C. Anderson
June 10, 2016


"...[Ryan Kobza] took on internships in Napa (Chateau Montelena) and Sonoma (Sonoma-Cutrer). Today he works with Ian Brand on Brand’s dynamic portfolio of wines and shares a similar outlook on what can grow in the region. 'It’s a large area with a lot of different pockets that will produce things better than others,' he says. 'We’re not just producing huge amounts of Chardonnay, but interesting stuff from people willing to take a chance and do something different.' He tends a couple of acres of Pinot at 'Suncoft Vineyards', 1,200 feet up, next to Albatross Ridge in Carmel Valley. He’s also mildly obsessed with ancient vines — including a Riesling sourced from Wirz in San Benito’s Cienega Valley and a rosé from the rare Mourtaou grape. $18-$28/bottle...."

download.jpeg
Kobza Wines - by Ryan Bosse Designs

GrapeLive, a blog impressive in its breadth of wine selections as well as educational (and descriptive) tasting notes, features a couple of Kobza wines:


GrapeLive
GrapeLive "Wine of the Day August 18, 2018"

2016 Kobza, "Old Vine Field Blend Red" (Mourvedre/Zinfandel) "Wirz Vineyard", Cienega Valley, San Benito County


"Ryan Kobza’s 110-year-old vine field blend from Pat Wirz’s historic vines...is wonderfully fresh and easy in the glass, completely different than what I had been expecting from this blend of mostly Mourvedre (close to 60%) and Zinfandel (about 40%) along with small percentages of Rose of Peru, Mourtaou (Cabernet Pfeffer), and the occasional cluster of Palomino, it’s a light to medium bodied wine that reminds me of an old world country wine.

"...The
["Wirz Vineyard"] Riesling, a 50 year block that he also uses to make a dry example, is planted in a single contiguous block along a small creek, while the reds here are an inter-planted, bush vine field blend of Zinfandel, Mourtaou (known also as Cabernet Pfeffer), Mourvedre, and Carignan with the super rare Rose of Peru and Palomino (the Sherry white grape) occasionally interspersed within.

"Inspired by underlined varietals in Italy as well as the new generation of winemakers that are exploring old style wines in Sicily, like Gulfi, Occhipinti and others. Ryan mentions he wants to make wines that have rustic charm and compliment simple meals, he cites his love of bright Barbera from Piedmonte as a guiding light wine with it’s juicy nature and vibrant acidity that allows easy drinking and with enough structure to age, and with this reference in mind it really helps to understand his wines in the bottle, especially this one. Kobza adds 'I also just have a penchant for the odd, under-appreciated and forgotten grapes, (like) Schiopettino, Nero d’Avola, Frappato, etc. There an endless number of grapes from which to make wine and so many have unique and intriguing characteristics worthy of exploration.'

"I really enjoy this fun wine with it’s joyous energy and delicacy, it almost reminds me of a Beaujolais meets Frappato! Kobza’s old vine red starts with a burst of concord grape, earth, spice and briar notes with subtle floral and game leading to a palate that includes black raspberry, strawberry, macerated cherry and wild plum fruits along with crushed stones, leather, minty herb/anise, cinnamon and peppery notes. Tangy and natural in style, Kobza used about 15% whole cluster, it was all co-fermented and aged in well seasoned French barriques, this wine joins a growing list of intriguing lighter style California reds that are gaining a following from adventurous young wine drinkers...

"...Drink this 'Old Vine Field Blend' over the next 3-to-5-years, it, by the way gains depth and personality with extended air, I liked it as it changed in the glass over an hour and it was even more interesting and gripping the next day, impressive stuff, give it a chance/time to show it’s best and have it with robust cuisine.
($25 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive"


Kobza_1500x1000_5.jpg
Kobza Rose of Mourtaou - by Ryan Bosse Designs

GrapeLive
"GrapeLive "Wine of the Day August 19, 2018"

2016 Kobza, Rosé of Mourtaou (Cabernet Pfeffer) "100 Year Old Vines", "Wirz Vineyard", Cienega Valley, San Benito County


"Coming off the heritage vineyard site Wirz Vineyard in the Cienega Valley, the Kobza Mourtaou Rosé is one of California’s most rare and unique wines, vaguely similar to the Clos Cibonne Tibouren, that legendary Cotes de Provence Rosé that is known for it’s cellaring potential.

"... The average vine age for Kobza’s Rosé of Mourtauo...approximately 100 years old, pretty unique for a pink, and he treats this wine in an old school way, in a nod to tradition, he foot-tread (stomped) the grapes (pigeage) and he let sit overnight before pressing and cold-settling for 24 hours, then juice is all natively fermented (with no yeast additions) in neutral (well seasoned) used French puncheons with a touch of malo, but not allowed to finish to keep freshness. The wine is racked once and get a small dose of sulfur, then gets bottled quickly with bottle aging to allow it’s complexity to show upon release, which this 2016 vintage does! The ruby/pink and orange tinted color invites comparisons to a Spanish rosado, it’s a fair bit darker than most Provence inspired or Provence versions of Rosé, but the palate is vivid and dry with lovely round layers that deliver complexity, spice, earth and tangy fruit.

"...Kobza’s Moutauo Rosé is still juicy fresh, but has developed a creamy mouth feel and richness of flavor with wild strawberry, candied orange rind, cherry and a touch of plum water along with subtle spices, earth and wet rock with a refined sense of acidity, this is a food wine and a bit rustic by nature, best to enjoy with outdoor meals when this chilled Rosé can refresh and thrill the palate in it’s element, it also has a decent shelf life and it doesn’t seems as mature as you’d expect, enjoy over the next year.
($20 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive"[/I]



* The SF Gate article also mentions the work of Mr Ian Brand (I. Brand & Family, Le P'tit Paysan, La Marea, etc.), Russell Joyce (Joyce Vineyards), Denis Hoey (Odonata Wines), as well as Emily Hunt (Drench Wines) and Miguel Lepe (Lepe Cellars).

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#188 Post by Drew Goin » September 28th, 2018, 11:34 pm

Hardy Wallace of Dirty & Rowdy Family Wines posted this YouTube video using a drone-cam fly-over:



Dirty & Rowdy: "Enz Vineyard Mourvèdre"


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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#189 Post by Drew Goin » October 2nd, 2018, 10:10 am

Dirty & Rowdy Family Wines "Enz Vineyard" 1st Round of Picking (sun is up around 0:40):



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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#190 Post by Drew Goin » October 24th, 2018, 6:52 pm

Several new producers of wines from the "Enz Vineyard" will be emerging in the coming year...



Vocal Vineyards:
https://www.vocalvineyards.com

"Vöcal came to life in 2012 when the 'Lilo Vineyard' Pinot Noir became available. Ian Brand and I had been conspiring to do something together, neither of us knew what, but something... 2013 our first harvest in 'Lilo' was almost perfect, beautiful fruit: character, structure and tension. In 2014 Richard Alfaro generously asked us to participate in the first harvest of the new planting of Grüner Veltliner in his Vineyard also in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Today we also produce Cabernet and Gros Verdot from the historic 'Bates Ranch' and 'Enz Vineyards', respectively."


"2017 ENZ VINEYARD 'SABROSO'

"100% Gros Verdot & 100% whole cluster fermented native in concrete. This is one of the lost Bordeaux vartieties not replanted after phylloxera. Locally known as Cabernet Pfeffer, these are 35yr old organic and dry farmed vines. The Lime Kiln Valley AVA is known only for the vineyards planted by the Enz family originally in 1895 and 1922. It is an important site for California viticulture and a key expression of how the San Andreas faultline influences the region. The 2016 winter was the year that broke the drought so there was more fruit and leaf growth with healthier production overall and just remanents of vine stress from the drought. 'Sabroso' is a Spanish word that translates to 'tasty'. Enjoy fresh or with a slight chill.

"METHOD_
HARVEST 09 / 19 / 17
WHOLE CLUSTER IN CEMENT TANK WITH CO2
5 DAYS CARBONIC MACERATION 9 BARRELS MADE
IN BARREL FOR 8 MONTHS BOTTLED MAY 2018"





More to Come...

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#191 Post by Ian Brand » October 24th, 2018, 8:09 pm

Drew,
Vocal is a project that I'm a partner in, and the Sabroso is a wine I made. The connection to Gros Verdot is based on a genetic test Ken Volk ran ten years ago. Given the volume of genetic mapping done ten years ago, I think it's reasonable to assume the test imprecise. I've asked that copy be revised. As far as I can tell, Cabernet Pfeffer isn't 100% anything, but a blend of reds based around an unknown grape with a bordeaux style leaf and including some Cabernet Sauvignon, Trousseau Noir, and a handful of other things. We'll be pulling more information from the Mother Block on Enz next spring.
It's a lovely wine, though -- a really zippy expression of the place and grape.
Ian
ITB - Le P'tit Paysan, La Marea, I. Brand & Family
Salinas, CA
www.ibrandwinery.com

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#192 Post by Drew Goin » October 25th, 2018, 3:13 pm

Ian Brand wrote:
October 24th, 2018, 8:09 pm
Drew,

Vocal is a project that I'm a partner in, and the Sabroso is a wine I made.

The connection to Gros Verdot is based on a genetic test Ken Volk ran ten years ago. Given the volume of genetic mapping done ten years ago, I think it's reasonable to assume the test imprecise. I've asked that copy be revised.

As far as I can tell, Cabernet Pfeffer isn't 100% anything, but a blend of reds based around an unknown grape with a bordeaux style leaf and including some Cabernet Sauvignon, Trousseau Noir, and a handful of other things.

We'll be pulling more information from the Mother Block on Enz next spring.

It's a lovely wine, though -- a really zippy expression of the place and grape.

Ian


Thank you very much for your contributions on both the Vocal/Vöcal "Enz Vineyard" "Sabroso" wine and additional details about the enigmatic varieties of San Benito County!!!



BTW, if anybody needs some rocks, the "Enz Vineyard" owners operate Vineyard Rock Products.

No wonder It's the "Lime Kiln Valley"! ;)

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#193 Post by Drew Goin » November 16th, 2018, 1:25 pm

I discovered this neat non-wine related website in my ongoing quest for information about the Santa Clara & San Benito wine culture:


Ride Chronicles
"San Juan Batista Southside -Tres Pinos - Cienega Valley"
by Nancy Yu
February 22, 2015


"Ride #4-SJB: This route heads east from San Juan Valley on CA-156 to Union Rd and turns SE on Southside Rd to the town of Tres Pinos. Continue through the rolling valley and bluffs on CA-25 to Paicines and meander through the Cienaga Wine Trail along the quiet beautiful Cienaga Valley on Cienega Rd. Climb up Bonanza Gulch along the east side of Hollister Hill SV Park before descending back into San Juan Valley."

dscn6913.jpg
"The rolling hillside vineyards at Pebble Ridge Vineyards and Donati Family Vineyard" 1 - Nancy Yu @ Ride Chronicles website

"...The road heads further south for another 1.1 mile towards the rolling hillside vineyards at Pebble Ridge Vineyards and Donati Family Vineyard to Cienaga Rd.

dscn6914.jpg
"The rolling hillside vineyards at Pebble Ridge Vineyards and Donati Family Vineyard" 2 - Nancy Yu @ Ride Chronicles website

"...We turn right onto Cienaga Rd; this road follows the San Benito County Wine Trail through the beautiful Cienaga Valley. The road begins with a flat jaunt through the scenic valley vineyards and farmlands.

dscn6943.jpg
"The scenic valley vineyards" - Nancy Yu @ Ride Chronicles website

"'The Vineyards of San Benito County are tucked away in a nurturing micro climate ideal for producing premium wines. Regional geology, geography and climate combine to create an optimal wine-growing region. Cool ocean breezes flow into the area from nearby Monterey Bay. During the summer months, when other wine growing regions suffer from high temperaatures, the vineayrds of San Benito County benefit from the refreshing gentle winds.'

http://www.sanjuanbautistaca.com/tours/ ... p_info.pdf

"...At Grass Valley Rd, the road kicks up for a climb through Sulphur Canyon to the summit at Calera Wine Company; it’s 0.9 mile with an average grade of 4.3%.

dscn7052.jpg
"Calera Wine Company" - Nancy Yu @ Ride Chronicles website

"...Cienaga Rd continues along the Wine Trail to De Rose Vineyards and Peitra Santa Winery."

dscn7061.jpg
"Wine Trail to De Rose Vineyards and Peitra Santa Winery" - Nancy Yu @ Ride Chronicles website

"San Juan Batista Southside: Tres Pinos - Cienega Valley"

cienaga-wine-trail.jpg
"Cienega Wine Trail" - Nancy Yu @ Ride Chronicles website

Ride Chronicles: "Cycling and hiking through the 'Seasons of Life'. Loving it, living it and sharing it!":
https://ridechronicles.com

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#194 Post by Drew Goin » November 25th, 2018, 9:07 am

The Winery-Sage website includes a comprehensive list of wineries and a collection of blog posts featuring visits to numerous tasting rooms. I recommend that travelers check it out prior to embarking on similar journeys. [thumbs-up.gif]


Winery-Sage
"Wine Travels: The Santa Clara Valley (part 1)"
by Karen and Ken
November 3, 2012

Aver-Family-Vineyards1.jpg
"Aver Family Vineyards – Where Rhone Varietals Rule" - from Winery-Sage

"Wineries Visited

Lightheart Cellars – production: 1,000 cases

Clos LaChance Winery (we forgot to get the total production on this one – hey no one’s perfect)

Sycamore Creek Vineyards – production: 2,500 cases

Aver Family Vineyards – production: 1,200 cases

Jason Stephens Winery – production: 15,000 cases



Winery-Sage
"Wine Travels: The Santa Clara Valley (Part 2)"
November 30, 2012
by Karen – Ken – Ed (A friend of Karen and Ken’s from South Carolina)

Solis-002.jpg
"The View From the Back of Solis Winery" - from Winery-Sage

"Wineries Visited


Kirigin Cellars – production: 3,600 cases

Fortino Winery – production: 15,000 cases

Sarah’s Vineyard – production: 5,000 cases

Solis Winery – production: 4,500 cases"

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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#195 Post by Drew Goin » November 27th, 2018, 8:40 pm

An email from Harrington Wines announces the release of numerous bottlings from one San Benito County vineyard:


"NEW RELEASES:

• 2017 Grenache Blanc, 'Siletto Vineyard', San Benito County
• 2017 'Tempesta', a Corvina and Pinot Noir blend, Calfornia
• 2017 Trousseau, 'Siletto Vineyard', San Benito County
• 2016 Grenache, 'Siletto Vineyard', San Benito County
• 2016 'SubRosa', 'Sumu Kaw Vineyard', El Dorado County
• 2017 Cabernet Franc, 'Cedar Crest Vineyard', Manton Valley
• 2015 Nebbiolo, 'Luna Matta Vineyard', Paso Robles
• NV 'Twelve Moons', Greco di Tufo, Malvasia & Moscato blend, California


"Grenache Blanc, 'Siletto Vineyard', San Benito County, 2017, 48 cases

"Located southeast of Hollister in a remote valley of the Gavilan Mountains, this wine is sourced from the 'Siletto Vineyard'. The well-drained alluvial soil is a mix of sand, limestone and granite. The block of Grenache Blanc is grown on 50 degree slope known as the "ski slope." The grapes for this wine were picked early (19 degrees brix) so this not your usual flabby, fru-fru Grenache Blanc. The wine is firm, with green apple and citrus flavors. With amped-up acidity and a decent bit of granitic grip, this is a perfect wine to lay down or to enjoy with that holiday turkey.


"'Tempesta', Corvina (76%) + Pinot Noir (24%) blend, California 2017, 50 cases

"The 'Tempesta' blend is comprised of Corvina sourced from the 'Heirloom Ranch' in Lodi and Pinot Noir from the 'Siletto Vineyard'. Corvina-based wines tend to be translucent red, lighter in body with spicy, complex aromatics and flavors. There is little, if any oak influence as the wine was cellared in neutral oak barrels. Displays dried strawberry, roses, cherry liqueur and raw almond aromas. Rounded flavors of red berries, red licorice, cherry tobacco and black tea intermingle. A rich, loose, glycerin mouthfeel propels a long, fruit-filled finish. Best served chilled.


"Trousseau, 'Siletto Vineyard', San Benito County, 2017, 100 cases

"Located southeast of Hollister in a remote valley of the Gavilan Mountains, the 'Siletto Vineyard' is an on-going, experimental site for the new and unusual. The well-drained, alluvial soil is a mix of sand, limestone and granite from the surrounding Gavilan Mountains. The Trousseau was fermented 100% in stainless steel tanks to preserve freshness. The no-oak cellaring seems perfectly suited for a wine that already has an intriguing woodsy, brambly component. Medium-bodied, this wine displays a dark-for-Trousseau color. Singular, alluring aromatics of dried flowers, red fruits, pepper and loam. Flavors of wild strawberries, currants and rhubarb with precise, beautifully-contoured tannins. Still a very youthful wine but ready to drink with holiday meals. Serve slightly chilled (20 min in fridge).


"Grenache, 'Siletto Vineyard', San Benito County 2016, 100 cases

"The Grenache is sourced from vineyard located on a steep hill of uplifted, granite river stones. The wine is packed with complex aromatics of orange rind, lavender, white pepper, smoke and flint. Expect earthy flavors of raspberry, red cherry and dried baking spices. The wine is medium-bodied with a fleshy, persistent finish. Open and let the bottle sit for an hour at least. Like the 'SubRosa', this wine has the right stuff for aging. Perfect with grilled or braised meats like beef, veal, pork, chicken and, of course, game. Cassoulet? Yessir!



"PURCHASE
To order, please download the 'FALL 2018 Order Form':

http://www.chateau.harringtonwine.com/w ... r-form.jpg

"10% discount will be applied to all full case purchases (mixed cases also).


"EVENTS

"Harrington Open Housestomper

"Please join us at our first Open House in three years. We will be opening a bevy of rare beauties for this one. There will be the usual table of older vintages, a few barrel samples and big table of recent, currently available wines. There will also be a pallet of various older wines we will be blowing out for $100/case. First come, first serve on those mixed cases. There will be a number of more well-known wines such as Pinot Noir and Cabernet but also come taste many rare wines such as Alvarelhao, Ribolla Gialla (skin-fermented in amphora), Gamay, the new 2018 Mission, Corvina, Falanghina and a wine we are calling 'Misteri' for now as it is sourced from a grapevine that we brought back from Mt Etna and planted at 'Sumu Kaw Vineyard'. We thought the vine was Nerello Mascalese, but it has turned out to be a true 'mystery' grape. After DNA testing, it matches nothing in the viticultural data base, but hey, we don't care as the wine is absolutely delicious. Come taste for yourself.

When: Sunday, December 9, 12 - 4 pm
Cost: $20 at the door
Where: 1559 Custer Ave, San Francisco
For the Open House date only, a 10% discount will be applied to all full case purchases.

"Slow Wine World Tour 2019

"The winery and our 2017 Mission wine were recently awarded two prizes from the Slow Foods organization: 2019 SLOW WINE PRIZE and the 2019 SNAIL WINE PRIZE. The Slow Wine Prize is awarded to wines that represent an expression of place, originality, and history. The Snail Prize is awarded to wineries whose values (high quality wines, originality, respect for the land and environment) align with the Slow Food movement. While it is an honor to be gathered together with a select group of fine wineries, one of the benefits of receiving the recognition is being asked to join a series of Slow Wine tastings in the following cities. We plan to be pour our wines at all of the tastings, so come join us.

"The tour will be visiting the following U.S. cities:

- San Francisco 3/4/19
- Portland 3/5/2019
- Denver 3/7/2019
- New York 3/11/2019
- Boston 3/12/2019

"Check the Slow Food website for more details:
http://www.slowfood.it/slowine/en/

"Thank you for your continued interest in the wines. Questions? Please feel free to contact me.


Bryan Harrington

Harrington Wines
205 Nevada Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
415.652.9655 "


bh@harringtonwine.com
www.harringtonwine.com

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Drew Goin
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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#196 Post by Drew Goin » November 28th, 2018, 3:39 pm

Pietra-Santa-View-2.jpg
"The View at Pietra Santa" - from Winery-Sage website

Winery-Sage
"Wine Travels: Cienega Valley & Hollister"
by Karen and Ken
October 21, 2012


"Wineries Visited:

Calera
De Rose
Pietra Santa
Leal Vineyards


"...Details:

"San Benito County wineries are a study in contrast. On one hand, Calera and De Rose were established decades ago by winemakers with clear visions of producing Old World style wines in California. On the other hand, Leal and Pietra Santa embody the spirit of a new generation of wineries, producing California style wines, more fruit forward, and often bigger than their old world ancestors...

"...Our trip started at Calera Winery, founded by one of California’s rare visionary winemakers, Josh Jensen. I was really looking forward to visiting Calera because if any one can truly lay claim to being the father of California Pinot Noir and Viognier, it’s Jensen...Calera produces mainly the Burgundian wines, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay but also is known for its Viognier.

"...On to De Rose with our ever-present legion of fruit flies where Pat De Rose and his family have been producing wines since the 1980’s. In addition to their Estate and other local wines, they partner with wineries in Europe and South America to produce wines there for import into the US. Both Karen’s and my favorite was the 'Dry Farmed Zinfandel' produced from 109-year-old vines. It had hints of leather as well as the spice normally associated with 'Old Vine Zin'. The fruit flies didn’t venture an opinion of their favorite. According to our host, De Rose dry farms all of their vines.


Pietra-Santa-Winery-2.jpg
"Pietra Santa Winery" - from Winery-Sage website

"...Peitra Santa* is a newer winery located less than a mile behind De Rose. It’s a beautiful building surrounded by vineyards. In the back, the vineyards are planted on the steep slopes of the hills creating a stunning backdrop. The staff was friendly and helpful and it’s a great place to picnic.

"There are two other wineries listed on the Cienega Valley signs, Enz and Summerayne. We were told they are not active so don’t waste your time driving the extra 4 ½ miles to get to them.

"Leaving our intrepid band of Fruit Fly followers behind, we moved on to Leal, which is as modern as Calera is traditional. It’s located about 15 minutes North East of the other three and East of downtown Hollister. The tasting room is chic and the recently installed wine dispenser is very high tech (although I’m not sure if it really contributes to the wine tasting experience). The grounds are beautiful and above the winery, there are Bocci Ball courts and spacious picnic grounds partially shaded by Olive trees. Both Karen and I liked the 'Carneval' best, a Meritage blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec...."



* Pietra Santa's esrate has been sold, and is now home to Eden Rift.

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Drew Goin
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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#197 Post by Drew Goin » November 28th, 2018, 4:27 pm

Briscoe Bites
"Kobza Wines


"Kobza Wines 2016 'Wirz Vineyard' Red Field Blend"
by Stacy L Briscoe
October 5, 2018


"This is my first taste of Kobza Wines, but not my first taste of Ryan Kobza’s wines. He’s winemaker for the previously reviewed Big Sur Vineyards Chardonnay and Big Sur Vineyards red blend. Ryan was kind enough to send me a sampling of wines under his eponymous label and I started with this red blend.

Kobza-Wines-2016-Red-Field-Blend-e1537319530388.jpg
"Kobza Wines 2016 'Wirz Vineyard' Red Field Blend" - Briscoe Bites website

"...About the Wine: The Kobza Wines 2016 'Wirz Vineyard' Red Field Blend is a field blend made of approximately 60% Mourvedre and 40% Zinfandel, with a small percentage of Kobza Wines Rosé of Mourtaou and an 'occasional cluster' of Palomino. The grapes are sourced from 'Poison Oak Hill' in the 'Wirz Vineyard', located in Salinas, California.

"After harvest, grapes were pressed and settled overnight. The wine then aged in neutral barrel for 10 months before racking off the lees, returning to the same neutral barrels.

"...On the palate the Kobza Wines 2016 'Wirz Vineyard' Red Field Blend is soft, warm, smooth but for that confident acidity that adds a thin line that pierces as covertly as a sewing needle. The finish is all-in-all clean with just a small bit of heat at the very center of the tongue. Dominant flavors are of blackberry, boysenberry preserves, a hint of mint, an almost volcanic rock minerality, with nearly not after taste—the wine is just that clean...."




"Kobza Wines 2016 'Wirz Vineyard' Dry Riesling"
October 3, 2018


"...About the Wine: Kobza Wines 2016 'Wirz Vineyard' Dry Riesling is made from 100% Riesling grapes harvested from the 'Wirz Ranch' in Salinas, California. According to Kobza, these are the youngest plantings on the Ranch at 50 years old.

"...Flavor Profile: Pop the cork of the Kobza Wines 2016 'Wirz Vineyard' Dry Riesling and breathe in subtle stone fruit scents like apricot and peach, interwoven with an undeniable floral aroma.

"...Initial aromas are quite similar to those sensed from the bottle, revealing those soft stone fruits, floral aromas, along with a wet, green herby scent. Swirl, and bring forward a bit more freshness to those fruit notes and add to them a subtle background of citrus, more of that wet grass or herb scent, and, again, that undeniable floral aroma that just makes you think Riesling...."



"Kobza Wines 2016 'Wirz Vineyard' Mourtaou Rosé"
October 1, 2018


IMG_0494-e1537318867819.jpg
"Kobza Wines 2016 'Wirz Vineyard' Mourtaou Rosé" - Briscoe Bites website

"...About the Wine: Kobza Wines 2016 'Wirz Vineyard' Mourtaou Rosé is made from 100% Mourtaou grapes, more commonly known as Cabernet Pfeffer. However, Cabernet Pfeffer itself may not be 'commonly known'.

"The grape hails from the Girornde region in France. For a long time, it was thought to be a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Trousseau. However, the grapes from the 'Wirz Vineyard', where Ryan Kobza gets his grapes for this rosé, were sent to UC Davis for DNA testing in 2015. What they found was that the Cabernet Pfeffer submitted is a 'synonym' for both Mourtaou and Gros Verdot—another seemingly 'lost' French variety.

"According to Kobza, the plantings on the 'Wirz Ranch' date from 1903 to 1921, Making the average fine age for the rosé approximately 100 years old.

"...Flavor Profile: Pop the cork on the Kobza Wines 2016 'Wirz Vineyard' Mourtaou Rosé and breathe in distinct aromas of apples, apple blossoms, strawberry shortcake, watermelon, and agave.

"...The palate of the Kobza Wines 2016 'Wirz Vineyard' Mourtaou Rosé is soft and round at the front. The background has a light but certain texture. The acidity is evenly distributed, zipping through from start to finish. A white pepper spice lingers on the tongue, leaving the taste buds at attention and ready for another experience. Dominant flavors are, yes, of red apple and its skins, underripe wild strawberry, a river water minerality, a background of white chocolate.

"...For more information about Kobza Wines, Ryan, and to inquire about purchasing, please visit the Kobza Wines website."


http://kobzawines.com/

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Drew Goin
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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#198 Post by Drew Goin » December 1st, 2018, 8:09 pm

Finally... the folks at EveryVine have added some vineyards in the San Benito AVA!


http://www.everyvine.com/wine-regions/r ... an_Benito/


Here's some of the information provided in the overview:

"Official Name: San Benito AVA
Designation: American Viticultural Area

"Location
Countries: United States of America
States: California
Counties: San Benito

"Statistics Updated: December 2, 2018

"GRAPE PRODUCTION
Vineyards: 10
Total Area: 47,433 acres
Planted Area: 3,680 acres
Percent Planted: 7.8 %
Most Common Grape Varietal: Zinfandel


"Top Vineyards

Donati Family Vineyard

Blossom Hill Vineyards

Bayly Ranch Vineyard

Oak Hill Ranch Vineyard

Pietra Santa Vineyards

DeRose Vineyards

Gimelli Vineyards

Vista Verde Vineyard

Gillian Enz

Circle S Vineyard"



Now, if they'll do the same for a couple of other California winegrape-growing regions...

EveryVine website:
http://www.everyvine.com

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Drew Goin
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Joined: January 18th, 2015, 4:45 pm

Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#199 Post by Drew Goin » December 4th, 2018, 3:25 pm

While I was surveying the vineyards listed under EveryVine's "Top Ten" San Benito mapped sites, I noticed that the "Gillian Enz Vineyard" is posted as the property of Berntsen Family Wines LLC:


From EveryVine:

"Gillian Enz Vineyard":
http://www.everyvine.com/org/Berntsen_F ... llian_Enz/

"Vineyard Overview
Organization: Berntsen Family Wines LLC

"Vineyard: 'Gillian Enz'
Planted Area: 3.53 acres
Established: 1998

"Address:
770 Limekiln Rd
Hollister, CA, 95023

Grape Profile:
Grape Details:
Varietals: Zinfandel
Vine Age: 20 years (average)
Wine Regions: Central Coast, Cienega Valley, Lime Kiln Valley, San Benito

Planted Areas of this Vineyard (1)
Block: GENZ1 (3.53 acres)
Grape: Zinfandel
879.92 ft., Hanford, Pacheco, Sheridan..."



I performed an internet search for "Berntsen Family Wines" and found this article:

San Benito Live
"New Business Listings: March 8-15"
March 16, 2018

IMG_0828.jpg
"New Business Listings: March 8-15" - San Benito Live website

"The following are new businesses that filed fictitious business statements with San Benito County from March 8-March 15:

Name: Berntsen Family Wines / Wildeye Winery/ Winero Consulting

Filed by: Berntsen Family Wines, LLC

Address: 60 Brown Road, San Juan Bautista..."



An additional announcement was published here:
https://issuu.com/metrosiliconvalley/docs/hol1813/23


Wildeye Winery website:
https://wildeyewinery.com


If anyone knows more about this vineyard/operation, please let me know!!

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Drew Goin
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Re: Santa Clara & San Benito Wine Heritage

#200 Post by Drew Goin » December 7th, 2018, 10:45 pm

The "Enz Vineyard" is gaining popular attention and, as a believer in the concept that "a rising tide lifts all boats", I hope to see more quality producers using fruit from San Benito and Santa Clara Counties.



Having said that I would like to share some information from an email I received on 8/26 from Mr Ian Brand on his personal involvement with the farming of this hallowed vineyard:



"...For the last two years, I've been engaged in an arrangement wherein the Enz family (Russell especially) does the farming, and I advise, handle the fruit sales and picking. We've taken the vineyard to organic farming practices and really brought in a great roster of winemakers. Right now, the Mourvedre goes to us (I. Brand), Sandlands, Dirty and Rowdy, Birichino, Penville Projects (out of Santa Barbara), Nonesuch Wines (assistant winemaker of Arnot Roberts), Rajat Parr Selections, and likely Bedrock and Nelle WInery in Paso. Turley gets the old Zin, Ser Winery gets the old Pfeffer. The young zin goes to Turley, Bedrock, Benevolent Neglect, and a new project called Blue Ox for sparkling (I think). The younger Pfeffer goes to Broc Cellars, Vocal Vineyards (side project of mine), and Blue Ox. I'm trying to convince Scott Shultz at Jolie-Laide that he wants some because I think it would be magic in his hands. The Pinot is going to Birichino, Newfound Wines and Presqu'ille this year. We've cleared another 15-20 acres on the vineyard for planting, and will be putting in another 5 acres of Mourvedre from cuttings on the vineyard and a smattering of other interesting things over the next three years.

"...I'm really happy with how everything is going. Our 15 and 16 vintages are the best the winery has produced. There are great wines in 17, but like many people, we had to do a lot of declassifying and selecting to pull wines out of that vintage -- I guess that's what they call a 'winemaker's vintage'. 18 is shaping up to be fantastic. The work we've spent a decade on is bearing fruit -- that includes the winery business and the our greater mission in the local vineyards and wine scene. I can only imagine how the next decade unfolds...."




So... whether or not there are more sites in the area destined for heightened attention, the "Enz Vineyard" seems to be a location that will be appearing on many wine labels in the coming vintage releases!

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