Longevity of vineyard relationships is integral to our winemaking program. It is only over time that we can show the validity of these special places and the consistency that they are capable of repeating vintage after vintage. A vineyard sourced for only a year or two is a waste of time. We want decades from these vineyards so that we can show our customers exactly what we are talking about when we discuss the sandy loamy soils at one vineyard versus the shale or granitic soils of another.
BIG JOHN VINEYARD
Home to our flagship wine since 2001, the Big John Zinfandel.
THE DALTON RANCH
Several NH wines are made from this sustainably farmed ranch, including The Donner Party Zinfandel and The Deviant among others.
Home to our El Dorado County Old Vine Zinfandel, planted in 1975.
SHAKE RIDGE RANCH
Home to our classic Amador County Zinfandel, owned and operated by well-known California vineyard guru, Ann Kraemer.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHYWe employ an essentially hands-off approach in the cellar. The idea is to let the vineyards speak for themselves. We strive for balance as much as possible, so most of the attention is given to these wines on the front end...either in the vineyard or prior to and during primary fermentation. We allow most of our wines to enjoy "native" fermentations, hoping for the yeasts that come in with the fruit to do most of the heavy lifting.
However we are watchful and vigilant when using these fragile native yeasts. Fermentations are monitored daily and often throughout the day. Most lots are pressed from skins and blended just before completely dry to allow complete and total depletion of fermentable sugars.
After secondary fermentation and putting these wines to bed for aging, we almost never do anything else to them aside from making sure SO2 levels are sufficient. Also the occasional racking when necessary to expose them to a little bit of air (we almost never fine these wines unless with bentonite to prepare whites wines for temperature stability).
WINEMAKING GOALS- Vineyard consistency from vintage to vintage
- Balance of flavors, aromas, alcohol and tannins
- Sustainable points of difference within the portfolio