WindVane was created as an homage to the wind that contributes to the unique character of the wines of Western Carneros. After working with the same vineyards for years, winemaker Steven Urberg was intrigued by some of the windiest vineyard blocks on the estate. The wines coming from these wind-blown vines are concentrated with great depth of fruit and a generous mouthfeel. WindVane is selected from the most expressive parcels throughout our 335 acres of estate vineyards in the Carneros region of Northern California. Our unique property has an East facing exposure with a mountain range directly alongside the West side of the vineyards. The mountains provide altitude, shallow rocky soils, shade from the intense afternoon sun and they also serve to funnel the intense Pacific Coast breezes directly onto the vineyards. We select vines from the steepest, rockiest areas of the vineyards where the soils are very thin and the vines are challenged throughout the growing season. They face the natural elements of a cooler marine layer in the mornings and afternoons, and intense wind which results in small crops of very slow ripening fruit that produce intense character.
The nose opens with deep red cherry and cedar spice. In the mouth the intense cherry fruit is joined by some darker blackberry and the spice expands with earthy characters. This is all supported by a light layer of sweet French oak and toast. The mouthfeel is full and silky and balanced by bright acidity that continues through the long finish. Only 100 cases were produced.
Black cherry and cedar blend together providing a profifile fifit for roast chicken with cherry chipotle sauce or ham with a blackberry rum glaze. Roasted beets with arugula, goat cheese and toasted Marcona almonds compliment the duo of spice and earth on the palette. The sweet oak is a match for aged Gouda or blue cheese drizzled with wildflower honey.
WindVane Reserve Pinot Noir is the ultimate selection, starting with choices in the vineyard and then at the winery with the barrels. We pre-select vineyard blocks that are most devigorated and exposed to the intense Carneros winds, as they will give us the most intensity of flavors. The Pinot Noir grapes from individual vineyard lots were gently hand harvested at night into small 30# picking boxes in order to bring the fruit into the winery intact and cold. They were then destemmed, lightly crushed and cold-soaked in small fermentation tanks holding 3 to 10 tons each for two days to extract color and flavors. During fermentation the grape skins were punched down or wine was pumped over, one to three times per day, determined by taste, to fine tune the extraction of the skins. When optimal extraction was achieved after 10 days, the free run wine was promptly drained from the skins and seeds and transferred to French oak barrels (50% new) for aging. After 9 months in barrels, the final blend was bottled.