Wine Maker Notes
Our Valdiguié is grown on Chualar loam soil in the Arroyo Seco appellation of Monterey County. Originally thought to be the Gamay Noir grape of France’s Beaujolais winegrowing region, U.C. Davis has since identified this grape to be Valdiguié from an area in the southwest of France. Regardless of its origin and identity, Valdiguié grown in the windy, cold Arroyo Seco produces a wine reminiscent of the “Crus” of Beaujolais - Morgon, Fleurie and Moulin-a-Vent.
2011 was in many ways a repeat of 2010, which was the coolest growing season we’ve seen in the Arroyo Seco in the past decade. Moderate autumn weather allowed ample hang time, which enabled great flavor development with less sugar accumulation than in a typical year. Valdiguié is a very large-berried variety, requiring extra vigilance from our Greenfield vineyard team to prune to only one bud per spur and to aggressively thin any extra shoots pushing from the cordon. Otherwise, yields are too high and ripening becomes difficult for this late-maturing variety, particularly in a cool year. In our winemaking, our goal is to preserve the varietal’s wonderful natural acidity and fresh fruit flavors. We incorporate two different winemaking techniques to achieve this. In 2011, we handpicked roughly a quarter of the fruit and put those whole clusters directly into the fermenters in a winemaking process called carbonic maceration— no yeast or pumping over of the fruit is performed. The other techniques are to gently de-stem and crush the fruit going to the fermenter, pump over and extract with fairly short, warm fermentations. These processes give the wine a remarkable similarity to the wines of Beaujolais, with enticing berry fruit flavors, a vibrant color and soft tannins. Malolactic fermentation is