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: This is our second vintage making a 100% Wirz Vineyard Old Vine Carignan. These 90+ year old vines are growing in the granitic and limestone soils of the Cienega Valley. This valley is located on the East side of the Gabilan Mountains at about 1000 ft elevation. With this vintage, we feel we really nailed the pick date with the grapes having awesome color and physiological ripeness, but at a low sugar level (alcohol is only 13.3). It is really a stylistic decision as the 2017 which was picked significantly riper is also a beautiful and balanced wine.
Wine Notes: One big difference between vintages is in the aromatics with the 2018 really singing with perfumed dark fruit, crushed rocks and crushed flowers with a hint of sweetness like Jasmine. On the palate, the tannins are superfine (as is often the case with old vines) and the fruit is exuberant and expressive. There is a cornucopia of wild berry fruit in this wine. Sometimes Carignan can be awkward, but somehow we avoided that fate and this wine is silky, pretty and delicious. We used 87% whole clusters, so pretty darn near 100%, and it worked beautifully in this wine. I sincerely hope we can nail it this beautifully in follow on vintages as this wine has me hooked on Wirz Carignan. Don’t miss this beautiful gem of a wine!