(2009 Vintage) The grapes are hand harvested, destemmed and crushed, and each vineyard lot is maintained separately. Before initiating fermentation, the must and skins are soaked at cool temperatures. Cold-soaking intensifies both the color and flavors of the finished wine. Fermentation is then set off with selected yeasts in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks and lasts for a period of six to seven days. During the initial stages of fermentation, the must is aerated by draining the wine from the fermenters and then returning it, a process called "rack and return." This stimulates the production of phenolic compounds which smooth and soften the tannins. These two techniques yield a wine of deep, full color and excellent fresh, fruity varietal flavors without harsh tannins.
Following completion of the alcoholic fermentation, the wine is pressed from the skins and returned to stainless steel tanks for full malolactic fermentation. It is then racked into French oak barrels, roughly half of which are new and the balance of one and two years' use, for approximately eighteen months depending on the vintage.
Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines(2001 Vintage) Rating: 85/100 - As reviewed by Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines on Mar-06
Wine Spectator(2001 Vintage) Rating: 87/100 - As reviewed by Wine Spectator on 06/30/04
Wine & Spirits(1998 Vintage) Rating: 92/100 - As reviewed by Wine & Spirits Magazine
Wine Spectator(1998 Vintage) Rating: 87/100 - As reviewed by Wine Spectator
Wine Advocate(1995 Vintage) Rating: 87/100 - As reviewed in Wine Advocate # 118 on Aug-98