Vineyard and Region Information: The Wirz Vineyard is located in the Cienega Valley - part of the San Andreas Rift zone. This high valley is located at about 1,000 ft elevation on the East side of the Gabilan Mountains. The valley is filled with alluvial deposits of granite and limestone from the mountains. This high valley traps the cold mountain air at night, so large diurnal swings in temperature are the norm. We have been working with the beautiful old vine vineyard for years and the Carignane has been an important component of our Homestead. Typically, we had been splitting the Carignane with another winery, but I had told Pat Wirz that we would be interested in getting all of it should it become available. Sure enough, in 2017 he offered all of the Carignane to us and hence, we were able to make enough to make both a single vineyard bottling, and have a substantial portion be whole cluster pressed for our rosé. We have also made a few vintages of the Wirz Riesling as well and have been very impressed with the quality of fruit from this vineyard.
Vintage Notes: 2017 was an excellent vintage in virtually all respects. A good set during Spring flowering set us up for good yields. Temperatures remained fairly moderate all year until just before harvest when a substantial heat spike impacted some vineyards. The old Carignane vines usually hold up pretty well, but in this vintage we did see substantial desiccation. As a result of the desiccation, we decided to destem all of the fruit which allowed us to remove a substantial portion of desiccated berries.
Wine Notes: Dark red and black fruits including raspberries, blackberries, and plums waft out of the glass, while a distinct crushed rock minerality is underneath. The fruit is explosive on the palate carried as it is by dusty tannins and bright acidity. The desiccation no doubt concentrated the grapes and it shows in a wine that is concentrated and intense. The amazing thing is that despite the ripeness, the wine is neither jammy or flabby, but intense has tremendous verve to balance the intense fruit.