Insights & ArticlesAt the Heart of DuMOL
“As a ‘vineyard up’ winery, we remain very close to the ingredients, close to the vineyards. Our winemaking technique is secondary to what we achieve in the field.”
“It takes time to discover a vineyard’s defining characteristics and even longer to employ the right winemaking technique to draw out those features in the wines. It requires sensitivity, a lightness of touch. We try not to layer in too many winemaking techniques. We try not to obscure the vineyard character. Ultimately, this allows us to achieve a more complex, multi-dimensional, effortless quality in our wines.”
“We collaborate very closely with our growers, from pruning through to the day of harvest. We work together to express their piece of land in a way that draws out the unique characteristics of each parcel.”
“We get to work with this really fantastic fruit from some of the very best vineyards in Sonoma and Napa. We honor it by making the best wine we possibly can.”
“Our farmers need to know that they are working for a reason. I think when we work really hard in the winery to do the best we can with their fruit it makes them want to work harder too. So, each year, we’re only getting better at it, in the field and in the winery.”
“The date we harvest a specific block in a vineyard – or the entire vineyard – is the most important decision we make all year because that sets the tone for the final wine. We’re visiting the vineyards every couple of days, focusing on the maturity of the vine – where we think the ripeness is going to go and how that translates to the final flavor in the wine. This is an ongoing process that can only be done in the field and it comes from a depth of experience and that vision of winemaking – the taste, the structure, the intensity can all be tracked back to the day of harvest.”
“It’s important to have a strong sense of vision for how you want the wine to communicate. With experience you learn how to create that roadmap from grape to bottle.”
“We are committed to Sonoma County and we farm sustainably for the long term. We support a dynamic, holistic culture of food and wine. You can’t separate the quality of the wine from the culture of the region.”
“During élevage, the raising of the wine in the barrel, you need to know when to nudge the wine in a certain direction, and know when to let the wine evolve at its own pace. Patience is very important at this stage. We listen to what each wine needs individually instead of imposing a preconceived idea of what a particular wine should be.”
“The first time we open and taste that vintage after it’s bottled, all those small decisions came together, all that hard work meant something.”
“Winemaking is an amazing journey. Every year it’s changing and every year you go through a whole spectrum of events and hard work. Then, at the end, you have this product that is a time capsule. When you uncork it, it tells the story of everything that happened over that year, every factor in the vineyard, all that effort.”
Insights & ArticlesA Study of our Vineyards
“The vision of the winemaker starts in the field.”
We have the great privilege of farming small select parcels across more than two dozen very special vineyard sites.
It takes time, working with a vineyard, to discover its defining characteristics. Then, it takes even longer to use the right winemaking techniques and sensitivity to highlight those features in the wine. A lightness of touch in our winemaking allows us to achieve a more complex, multi-dimensional, “effortless” quality in our wines.
Over two decades, we’ve gained access to some truly legendary sites. And we’ve achieved close personal relationships with our growers. Our shared respect for the land, our dedication to the work, and our mutual respect for each other, carry through to the final product. We work with good people and we’re going to make some amazing wines.
From first pruning through to the day of harvest, we’re out there farming the land in a way that draws out the singularity of each parcel. We minimize our footprint in the vineyard, stay very close to the “ingredients” and let the vineyards speak for themselves.
Insights & ArticlesOur 2020 Spring Release
Two thousand eighteen was my 26th year of winemaking, and—I can say with a straight face—this is the year I’ve been dreaming of all this time. When we look back on the first two decades of this century, 2018 will be the vintage we discuss with reverence. There’s already an early drumbeat of hype, a murmur of greatness, a whisper of something special. As the critics taste and the first wines are released, acclaim for this vintage will reach a crescendo.
What made this vintage so special? The secret lies in the ideal climate during the final two weeks of August and the first two weeks of September, beautiful mild benevolent sunny days and cool nights. In no previous vintage have aroma and flavor maturity tracked sugar accumulation so closely, and we see this in the wines’ dark fruit intensity, pinpoint purity and flavor clarity, and, most clearly, in their level of energy. The wines pulsate, delivering wave after wave of remarkable flavor.
One must discuss Pinot first as it’s here that we see the year’s greatness most clearly. Each wine expresses its vineyard origins with unmistakable clarity and authenticity. The coastal wines, Wildrose and Joy Road vineyards, are bright, effusive and loaded with red and black fruits. Highland Divide—a star this year and a great value—is even darker, richer and more dramatic. All three share a liveliness that’s the hallmark of the vintage.
The Chardonnays have a level of intensity and textural richness that reminds me of 2015. They brilliantly ride the line between power, breadth and acidity. We advanced the release of our Charles Heintz Vineyard Isobel as it drinks so well in its youth—all oily citrus and botanical complexity. The Highland Divide is softer and rounder with layer upon layer of ripe stone fruits.
A word about our two Wild Mountainside Rhone variety wines: If you’ve never tried Viognier, you’re missing out on one of our greatest wines, and, in 2018, the quality is thrilling. Try a bottle and join the converts! For pure hedonism, select the Syrah, destined to destroy any sub-$90 Cabernet you care to throw at it. These are two exceptional bottlings in our portfolio, “insider wines” with real style and unique expression.
Enjoy this first release of the 2018 vintage. The wines are classic DuMOL, combining early drinkability with long-term aging potential.