While the SLH is more commonly associated with superb Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the McIntyre’s decided to plant Dornfelder based upon the recommendation of longtime collaborator/ winemaker Eric Laumann, who wanted something out of the ordinary for is Cambiata brand. The site is situated in the exact middle of the AVA, abeam the community of Gonzales. Who knew this ‘Goldilocks’ microclimate would make such amazing Dornfelder! The vines are trained on a Lyre Trellis system and each plant is thinned to one cluster per shoot immediately after bloom to maximize the amount of flavor, structure and aroma precursors Mother Nature can “download” into the berry.
The 2021 vintage was another nearly perfect growing season with few climatic extremes. The long hang-time allowed the vines to linger in the photosynthetic “sweet spot.” This accelerated the various benchmarks associated with vine phenology such as bloom, fruit set and veraison. After a five-day cold soak, the juice was fermented in small, half-ton bins with little intervention other than twice daily pumpovers and the occasional punch down. Once in barrel the wine was not racked until just prior to bottling. Definitely minimalistic winemaking.