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These are my current offerings.
"El Galpon" roughly translated from Spanish means "the shed" or maybe "the workshop," which makes it related to "The Shop." Which it is--the grapes come from the same vineyard and the only difference between this wine and the "regular" Shop is that it was aged entirely in concrete, rather than in barrel. This gives the wine a freshness and immediacy that turns it in the direction of fun rather than serious. Which as you know, is one of the things that I think there should be more of in the wine business.
My love affair with the Gamay grape continues unabated. This, my second effort, shares the exuberant juicy character with the 2015 with perhaps a touch more grip and a little more stem showing in the flavors. Like the 2015, it was aged entirely in concrete so that no oak would obscure its primal beauty. It was made in the spirit of Cru Beaujolais (not Nouveau), fermented with a lot of whole clusters and handled the same way as my Pinot Noirs--no added yeast, etc. Super fun stuff.
In 2014, Hirsch Vineyard produced some of the most bright, even flashy, wines of the more than ten years I have been working with it. After the more brooding 2012 and 2013 vintages, I welcome the more open and friendly 2014. As always, this bottling is a barrel selection from the two blocks that I work with at Hirsch, one of them planted to one of the so-called "Dijon clones," known in the business as 114, and the other to an older Californian selection widely referred to as "Pommard." So it's a bit of old and new together, which I like. They compliment each other well, which is also nice. Most years its about two parts Pommard and one part 114, as it is in 2014.
While the 2014 Hirsch was raised entirely in French oak, very little of it was new. The better to let the grape speak. It will require a little time to unwind but I think the 2014 may be my favorite since the 2011.
2014 marks the ten year anniversary of my first vintage of The Shop. A lot has changed since my first Shop back in 2004, including many details related to the growing and making of the wine. But the goal is the same—to capture the essence of Carneros Pinot Noir in a wine that has serious intent but is mostly just tasty.
The Habitat comes from Paul and Kathryn Sloan's Barlow Homestead Vineyard, located just northwest of the town of Sebastopol. Planted to 3630 vines per acre on Goldridge soil and farmed biodynamically, with an almost insane attention to detail. It's special. 2014 was an excellent vintage, yielding wines of generosity but also with energy and a little grip. This one might be my favorite from the vintage.
2014 may turn out to be the best vintage since the new millennium began. Don't quote me on that, but I am very excited about the quality of all of my 2014 wines. The reds won't be released until the Fall of 2016 but the Chardonnay is ready to go now. Why am I so high on the 2014 wines? They have an enviable combination of richness, purity, freshness and concentration--ripe without being heavy--that doesn't happen very often. I find a mineral streak in the Chardonnay in its youth which is particularly appealing. Over the course of the summer, if it follows the pattern of my previous Chardonnays, it will put on weight and develop some mid-palate richness, but I like that it is a touch steely at the moment.