Fermentation took place in both small 1.25-ton open fermenters and large stainless steel tanks. Fermentations in the open fermenters were “punched-down” by hand in the traditional manner to extract color and flavor from the skins, while a technique called “pneumatage” was utilized to extract color and flavor in the larger stainless steel tanks. This technique involves injecting large bubbles of air into the tank, which rise through the fermenting wine and gently break up the thick cap of skins that forms at the top of the fermenter. This technique allows excellent extraction of color and flavor from the skins while minimizing extraction of bitter seed tannins. The wine underwent the secondary malolactic fermentation while it was aging in French oak barrels, 15% of which were new, for 8 months. The wine was bottled in August of 2017.
Winemakers like early vintages and 2016 was one of them. We like them because we can usually avoid precipitation and cooler temperatures, both of which are responsible for lackluster vintages – and a lot of my gray hair (my daughter is responsible for the rest). 2016 started early and was cooler than 2014 and 2015. Because our vines weren't growing in hot weather, they could slow down and absorb the oils and esters that make wine taste so good – and that is what happened. 2016 temperatures were a perfect copy of 2006 - warm enough to build black flavors (black cherry, cassis, blueberry, blackberry), but cool enough to drive red flavors (cherry, cranberry).