Princess and the Peasant - Old Vine Carignan and High Altitude Pinot Noir

With Princess and the Peasant wines, we aim to celebrate the diversity of the Mendocino County viticultural landscape and winemaking heritage. Mendocino Ridge, with its high altitude, exposed, barren ridgetops yielding Pinot Noir and Zinfandel of nerve and tension. The Ukiah Valley, with old vine, historic vineyards in abundance planted to heirloom varieties perfectly adapted to the Mediterranean climate. We live here, we love it, and we’re excited to celebrate it with you.

Princess and the Peasant was the featured Mendocino winery in the Bay Area News Group’s Mendocino County travel edition a few Sundays ago.

Fellow Berserker Drew Goin had some nice things to say. Thanks Drew!

Our 2015 Signal Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir is sourced from grapes grown at the very margins of elevation and climate. At almost 3000 feet in elevation and only 8 miles from the Pacific Ocean, an argument can be made that it is the most extreme vineyard site in California. The resulting wines are, as mentioned above, very nervy and tense, with vivid fruit and laser beam acidity. 12.8% alc, 3.82 pH, 6.9 TA.

The 2015 Poor Ranch Carignan is sourced from 74 year old dry farmed vines, and is a unique expression of a variety perfectly adapted to its terroir. The aim here is purity and transparency; the history of the site and the winegrowing experience are expressed in a juicy, bright, vibrant package. The sensual texture and seamless transition from attack to finish are unique to wines made from own-rooted, ancient vines - once you’ve tried them, you never forget the experience. 13.4% alc, 3.5 pH, 7.3 TA.

For more information please check out our website.

Thank you for the opportunity!

Very cool, no pun intended.

Cool is the word indeed! We were up at the vineyard yesterday checking out the hillsides to make sure that everything is still there after all this rain (80" this season!). No amount of rain-gear could keep us dry or warm. Good news is our vineyard is still there. We planted a heavy cover crop last fall for two reasons- to keep the rows intact during rain events, and to help “eat up” any excess Nitrogen from the soil.

Its a magnificent place indeed- if you ever find yourself out this way, it is worth the 45 minute journey up the mountain to see.


It looks stunning.

After reading Drew’s note I picked up a few bottles of the Poor Ranch Carignan, drank over the last two nights, it is flat out juicy and delicious with some real depth! And a pleasure dealing with Stephanie. Looking forward to picking up more of these wines.

When will the '15 Zin be available?

The Signal Ridge Zin is in bottle, we will most likely release it in March/April. PM me with your email and I’ll get you on our mailing list and keep you apprised of release dates :slight_smile:

PM sent. Thanks.

What an exciting place, and thanks for the geography images!

I will be in.

Hi Anton-

Thank you for checking out our Newbie Forum post! I live directly across the Anderson valley from the vineyard I work at…it is the first and last thing I see everyday (unless the mountain top is enshrouded in fog) The climate there is so vastly different from the Anderson Valley AVA just underneath it, and I think that is absolutely key in what makes the resulting wines vastly different from wines made in nearby growing regions. I am the luckiest lady in the world to get to play with fruit of this caliber!

View from my house to Signal Ridge Vineyard (the highest peak in the pic). It looks so close, yet takes me nearly an hour to drive there. Just beyond the ridge line there (know as signal ridge, hence the vineyard name) is a direct shot to the Pacific Ocean.


That view reminds me of Esterlina, a winery that used to have great open houses.

Thanks for the pics!

What is your relationship to Signal Ridge and how does the winemaking differ?

Ha ha!! how right you are! We live just next door to the old Esterlina property…great memory you have. The bit of vineyard you see in the pic is our Roman vineyard- leased by Ted Lemon for Littorai.

Hello Corey-

Signal Ridge is my “day job” in winemaking. I have been there since 2013. That same year the vineyard owner gave my husband and I 1 ton of pinot noir fruit to “play” with. It was a way of experimenting with the vineyard and producing two different wines from he same source. The experiment was successful, and we have been making our own wine ever since…with the addition of old vine carignan from Hopland.

As for differences- There are many similarities and differences- the main one being the clones used in the final wines. Some other smaller differences- fermentation vessels, barrel age, time in barrel before bottling- when added together make for a marked difference in the finished wine. I guess I should also figure in that I feel a bit more at ease unleashing new ideas on wine that is destined to be the Princess and the Peasant, and a bit more conservative when it comes to Signal Ridge. Both wines allow for a great deal of learning each year to see how the implementation of different methods are reflected in the finished wine.

Thanks for the question…its been a minute since I paused to think about that!

Hey Scott! Glad the wines arrived safely and you are enjoying them. I think the word you used perfectly describe the carignan- it is juicy as can be. We have worked with a couple different blocks of the vineyard and have our eyes on a higher elevation block for next year. The Poor family is so connected to their vineyard- they do all the work themselves, only bringing in help for harvest

Thanks for your note

Hi Stephanie, Both write-ups sound super interesting.

Will there be separate offers for Princess and the Peasant and for Signal Ridge, or will they be combined?

Hi Lou! While i am very much hoping that people will try both, they are being offered separately on the website- so you can customize the wines you would like to test out. I’ll be bottling our 2015 SRV pinot over the next two days and then gearing my fingers up for BERSERKER DAY VIII!!! Yay!!!

Right now I am on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. I will order the split case on BD if I have a connection. I love this site and cool climate fruit. Thanks for sharing the story.

I popped a bottle of The Princess and The Peasant “Poor Ranch” 2015 Carignan and one of the TP&TP “Signal Ridge” 2015 Pinot Noir yesterday morning. The nose on the Carignan today is like a flower bloom of berry goodness!

Tasting Notes to follow. :slight_smile: