Current Releases


Ramspeck 2013 Pinot Grigio -- SORRY, SOLD OUT!

  • Description
  • Facts
  • Winemaker's Notes

"The white wine that's not really white wine!" 

RPinotGrigio2013BottleShot 

Yes, it’s true, our Pinot Grigio fruit is black, very much more Noir than Gris or red (which are the more typical color descriptors of the variety). For almost all dark-skinned wine grape varieties, the color is restricted to the skins and not the flesh of the berry. And it is not just the color pigment that is stored in the skins, but the  flavor and aroma compounds that are also produced there.

 

We have found in our vines that the Pinot Grigio clone with darker skin also has higher concentrations of flavors and fruit aromatics than lighter colored fuit.

 

Traditionally, when making Pinot Grigio, the skins and fruit are immediately separated to avoid any contact that might allow the black skins to taint the juice red. Unfortunately, flavors and aromas are also missed and often the result is a nondescript white wine, as many tasters have described.

 

What makes our Ramspeck Pinot Grigio different is that we allow the grape juice to stay in contact with the black skins for 10 hours. This soaks out the extra flavors and aromas that otherwise would be lost, and makes our Pinot Grigio so tasty.

 

Enjoy this delicious white wine made from black grapes while you appreciate its full flavor and refreshing minerality.

“The white wine that's not really white wine!” 

RPinotGrigio2013BottleShot
 

Vineyard Location: 1400 ft elevation, Kelseyville 100%

 

Harvested: 5:00 a.m. September 6th, 3.1 ton/acre @ 44F

 

Fermentation Type: 10 hrs skin contact, long cold fermentation

 

Yeast: Champagne and Rhone Isolate

 

Clones: Alsatian #146, 152

 

Aging: 7 months tank aging sur lie. No wood. No ML.

 

Case Production: 1470

“The white wine that’s not really white wine!”

RPinotGrigio2013BottleShot
 

Winemaker’s Notes:

 

Aromas: orange blossom, persimmon, peach.

 

Flavors: baked apple, apricot, peach. A full bodied Pinot Grigio with slate-like minerality.

 

Sassolini Tr It: This notation on the bottle means pebbles or little stones and is the source of the minerality in the wine.

 

 


Ramspeck 2012 Pinot Noir -- SOLD OUT. Now shipping 2013 Pinot Noir.

  • Description
  • Facts
  • Winemaker's Notes

No rain, no frost, no mildew, no sunburn -- 2012 is thumbs up!

 

RPinotNoirBottleShot
 

What do these idyllic conditions at flowering, with moderate summer heat and a cool dry finish, mean from a vine’s perspective?

 

Near perfect weather at bloom/flowering promotes a high percentage of set berries, i.e., berries that will stay through to harvest. A long warm growing season provides time to develop aroma, color and body. The dry summer causes the berries to be smaller and have thick skins that concentrate the fruit flavor.

A cooler finish keeps the fruit brightness and depth of color without excess sugar accumulation from dehydration.

 

A year when weather conditions are so near perfect gives me the confidence to experiment a bit in the winery to advance my winemaking techniques. For 2012 Ramspeck Pinot Noir, I allowed the fermentation to be completed 100% by the wild yeast that came in on the fruit. This can be risky as native yeast is less vigorous and prone to getting stuck, leading to an incomplete fermentation that leaves the wine too sweet. The benefits, though, are an increased mouthfeel, and more interesting fruit aromas, flavors and complexity.

 

Through careful yeast nutrition we were able to complete fermentation without sticking so the 2012 Ramspeck Pinot exhibits a little more character than normal. Try it and see!

No rain, no frost, no mildew, no sunburn -- 2012 is thumbs up!

 

RPinotNoirBottleShot
 

Vineyard Location: Carneros 64%, Oak Knoll 36%

 

Harvested: 5:00 a.m. September 18th, 3.1 ton/acre @ 42F

 

Fermentation Type: 100% Whole berry

 

Yeast: 100% Wild yeast

 

Time on skins: 6 day cold soak, 20 days total

 

Cooperage: 100% French oak 1 year old

 

Clarification: non-fined

 

Case Production: 2150

No rain, no frost, no mildew, no sunburn -- 2012 is thumbs up!

RPinotNoirBottleShot
 

Winemaker’s Notes:

 

Color: deep red with crimson hue.

 

Aromas: sweet ripe cherry, coco powder and Asian spices.

 

Flavors: blackberry, raspberry, generous long finish.

 


Ramspeck 2012 Merlot

  • Description
  • Facts
  • Winemaker's Notes

Our little blackbird!

RMerlot2012BottleShot 

“Merlot” is French for young blackbird. Merlot berries have the jet black color of the young birds, which explains the origin of the name for this grape variety and wine.

 

In recent times, Merlots have too often been high-alcohol, overly-extracted wines. To break away from this trend, we have made our Ramspeck Merlot in the style of twenty years ago.

 

Merlot has a thinner skin than Cabernet Sauvignon and rapidly dehydrates in warm weather. The warmer northern areas of the Napa Valley accelerate the sugar accumulation in comparison to a slower maturation of the flavors. To escape this rapid sugar accumulation, we have chosen to grow our grapes in the cooler southern area of the Napa Valley.

 

The Atlas Peak and Oak Knoll sub-appellations of southern Napa Valley are our chosen sites.  There we are able to obtain more flavor maturation in the fruit with lower sugar levels at the same stage of ripening. This helps us to achieve our goal of a full-bodied wine with more savory attributes and less alcohol-perceived sweetness.

 

In 2012, we have also chosen to ferment entirely with indigenous yeasts on the grapes. An indigenous yeast fermentation needs to be watched carefully as the fermentation of the delicate native yeasts can stall.

 

With this risk, however, comes the reward of more diverse flavors and aromas that the native yeasts produce. We are pleased to present to you our Ramspeck Merlot, with less than 14% alcohol, savory in flavor, and rich in fruit aromas.

 

“Blackbird fly … you were only waiting for this moment to arise.” – Beatles, 1968

Our little blackbird!

RMerlot2012BottleShot
 

Yield: 3.2 tons per acre

 

Vineyard Data: vertical trellis with leafing around clusters for extra color & flavor

 

Yeast: 100% wild yeast

 

Time on skins: 32 days

 

Fermentation Type: 8 day cold soak, 100% whole berry

 

Cooperage: 50% new oak, 50% 1-2 year old blend of French & American oak

 

Cépage: Merlot 78%, Cab.Sauvignon 12%, Malbec 6%, Petite Verdot 4%

 

Clarification: non-fined

 

Case Production: 588

Our little blackbird!

RMerlot2012BottleShot
 

Winemaker’s Notes:

 

Aromas: floral, violets, and Tuscan leather notes.

 

Flavors: sweet ripe cherries, coco, full-bodied with a savory finish.

 


Ramspeck 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon -- SOLD OUT. Now shipping 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon.

  • Description
  • Facts
  • Winemaker's Notes

A "Just Enough" Year!

RCabernetSauvignon2012BottleShot 

Vintage 2012: just enough mid-summer heat, just enough of a cool season finish.


Unlike prior vintages, the 2012 peak summer warmth was "just enough" to drive the fruit to produce the traditional "Napa Style" tannin and body that you would expect from this appellation. The berries grew thicker skins, which is where the tannin for the wine is produced. This defensive response by the fruit makes the berry more robust and less susceptible to damage from heat, sunburn or dehydration, and it is what makes the Napa Valley so great for Cabernet.


Yields were good from weather conditions conducive at flowering to induce high fertility and set a lot of berries per cluster. This is one of those rare occasiona (like the great vintages of 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2007) where a good yield does not mean sacrificing quality. In fact, the quality is improved, as more berries per cluster promotes smaller berries, which in turn increases the skin to juice ratio and intensifies the resulting red wine. A win-win scenario for both grower and winemaker.

 

The "just enough" cool that finished the season off helped retain bright, fresh fruitiness to wines that were also highly colored. Hot vintages have poor color because the end of season heat at or above 88F denatures color in the berry. In 2012 the end of season heat was 85F -- perfect for both the production and retention of color in the berries. So the "just enough" cool to complete the berry ripening also helped produce intense aromas, deep color, and a full-bodied Napa cab. Enjoy!

A "Just Enough" Year!

RCabernetSauvignon2012BottleShot
 

Vineyard Location: Oak Knoll 68%, Atlas Peak 25%, Yountville 7%

 

Yield: 3.25 tons per acre

 

Vineyard Data: vertical trellis with leafing around clusters for extra color and flavor

 

Yeast: 100% wild yeast

 

Time on skins: 32 days, 10 days as extended maceration

 

Fermentation Type: 10 day cold soak, 100% whole berry, co-fermentation of varieties

 

Cooperage: 50% new oak, 50% 1-2 year old blend of French & American oak

 

Cépage: Cabernet Sauvignon 76%, Merlot 14%, Malbec 6%, Petite Verdot 4%

 

Clarification: non-fined

 

Case Production: 880

A "Just Enough" Year!

RCabernetSauvignon2012BottleShot 

Winemaker’s Notes:

 

Color: black with deep red hue.

 

Aromas: blueberry and bing cherries, dark chocolate, spice.

 

Flavors: dark cherry, savory, mocha, tar and a big finish.

 


Cenay 2012 Bald Mountain Chardonnay

  • Description
  • Facts
  • Winemaker's Notes

Where the mountains meet the sea!

CChardonnay2012BottleShot
 

Bald Mountain is situated on the coastal side of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The vineyard sits at 1000 feet elevation, protected from the wind by the large redwood trees that surround its border.

 

The proximity of the vineyard to the Pacific Ocean exposes the fruit to the cool, briney fog and ocean breezes that preserve the natural brightness of fruit aromas and acidity.

 

The southwest slopes face the Monterey Peninsula and provide plenty of sun-drenching rays that produce intensely-flavored golden Chardonnay fruit.

 

The soil profile is one of sand with decomposing limestone -- so much limestone that from a satellite view you can see the white banding throughout the vineyard. On a sunny day, the light reflection off the limestone particles is so bright that you need sunglasses. The limestone particles contribute minerality and the reflected rays contribute to the flavor intensity of the fruit.

 

Our 2012 Bald Mountain Chardonnay is a pure expression of the vineyard’s character and we are pleased to present you with this essence of minerals and sunlight that creates our fruit by the sea.

Where the mountains meet the sea!

CChardonnay2012BottleShot
 

Style: Old World, 22 year old vines, Clone #22

 

Vineyard Location: 1000 ft elevation, 3 miles from the coast, sedimentary rock

 

Harvested: 9:00 a.m. October 18th, 2.2 ton/acre @ 41F

 

Fermentation Type: cold fermented, 100% barrel, sur lie

 

Yeast: 50% Wild, 25% Champagne, 25% White Burgundy

 

Fermentation Time: Cold for 16 weeks

 

Malo-lactic: 100% non-diacetyl producing species

 

Cooperage: 85% new French Oak, 15% stainless steel

 

Clarification: Lightly fined

 

Case Production: 350

Where the mountains meet the sea!

CChardonnay2012BottleShot
 

Winemaker’s Notes:

 

Color: light golden.

 

Aromas: Key lime pie, passion fruit, hints of apricot.

 

Flavor: Bright, savory, minerality, full finish with long flavors.

 


Cenay 2011 Rodgers Vineyard Pinot Noir

  • Description
  • Facts
  • Winemaker's Notes

It’s all about the body!

 

CenayPinotNoir2011
 

Pinot Noir varies in color and body from light, fruity, rosé-like wines for the summer to dark, full-bodied wines that can age as well as Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

So, why the variation? It all comes down to the skin thickness and tannin of the berry. The color, flavor and body of the wine comes from the skins. Pinot Noir grapes have thin skins, roughly half the thickness of a Cabernet Sauvignon berry, so they provide only half the color and body of a Cabernet.

 

The variation of rosé to dark and fruity full-bodied Pinots is controlled by the producer who works in the vineyard to promote thicker skins and in the winery to have as efficient as possible extraction of the color and flavor from the skins.

 

The skin thickness of a berry is a response to the elements of nature. Increasing exposure to sunlight, wind, heat or cold can thicken the berry skins and produce a bigger wine. We elicit this response by removing the lower leaves around the fruit so the berries are more exposed to all that Mother Nature provides. The berry skin thickens as a self defense mechanism, to protect the seeds of the future generations that might have arisen from this fruit. The berry also produces more color to prevent sunburn and more tannin to act as an antifungal and a deterrent to being eaten by animals. When the seeds are ripe, the fruit softens its harsh skin and seed tannin, and provides sweetness to make itself more edible.

 

To make our 2011 Rodgers Vineyard Pinot Noir in this cool year we exposed our fruit to all the elements that Mother Nature could dish out. The result is this wine of remarkable depth in flavor, aroma and … body!

It’s all about the body!

 

CenayPinotNoir2011
 

Style: Accadian

 

Vineyard Location: Oak Knoll District, 100% Rodgers Vineyard

 

Harvested: 5:00 a.m. September 27th, 3.2 ton/acre @ 44F

 

Fermentation Type: 100% whole berry

 

Yeast: 50% Wild, 50% Italian, aged on lees

 

Time on skins: cold maceration 8 days, 28 days total

 

Extended Maceration: 100% extended maceration, 10 days

 

Cooperage: 100% French oak, 60% new, 40% 1 year old

 

Clarification: lightly fined

 

Case Production: 219

It’s all about the body!

 

CenayPinotNoir2011
 

Winemaker’s Notes:

 

Aromas: framboise, English toffee and cinnamon spice

 

Flavors: ripe red cherries, dark chocolate, medium to full-bodied.

 


Cenay 2012 Blue Tooth Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

  • Description
  • Facts
  • Winemaker's Notes

 Becoming of Age!

 

CCabernet2012BottleShot

Old vine fruit provides a depth of flavor, intensity and aroma that young vine fruit cannot provide, making vine age extremely important to wine quality.

 

For just short of a decade, from the early 1990s to early 2000, we were battling Pierce’s Disease, losing 5% of the vines annually. Young vine recovery takes about 4 years, resulting in 20% of the vineyard being out of production at any one time. This annual loss continued for 7 years. Mature vine character kicks in at about 10 years so our losses from “Pierce’s disease” have really thrown a curve ball at our average vine age. We are at last in recovery with 66% of the original vines planted in the mid ‘80s still surviving at 35 years of age, offsetting the younger vines to give us an average age of 26 years --enough vine age to keep the integrity of the vineyard character.

 

In 2012 we also went to 100% wild yeast fermentation. Tricky!

 

The benefit is again in the wine character, improving depth of flavor, intensity and aroma that cannot be achieved with cultivated yeast.

 

Wild yeast is weak and can be very temperamental compared to its laboratory-produced cousin. The yeast can typically stall out halfway through the fermentation leaving the wine sweet. It takes extra vigilance and a deep understanding of yeast nutrition & stress points to prevent a sticky or stuck fermentation. You end up with a sweet wine but you can also get other spoilage from yeast or bacteria that produce off aromas or flavors in the tank.

 

If you are making a single vineyard wine like Blue Tooth, by law you are not allowed to blend any other wine with it. The risk of a problematic fermentation, therefore, is the full loss of the wine for that year. I have played with wild yeast over the years but only recently felt confident to use 100% wild yeast cells as a tool on a single vineyard wine.

 

We hope you enjoy all this risky business. Strangely enough, it makes the winemaking process a more natural one, with less intervention allowing the more unique attributes of the vineyard character “shine through”.

 Becoming of Age!

 

CCabernet2012BottleShot
 

Vineyard Location: Oak Knoll on ‘Dry Creek Alluvial Fan’, 3.2 tons per acre

 

Vineyard Data: vertical trellis with leafing around clusters for extra color & flavor

 

Yeast: 100% wild yeast

 

Time on skins: 40 days, 14 days as extended maceration

 

Fermentation Type: 11 day cold soak, 100% whole berry, co-fermentation of varieties

 

Cooperage: 70% new oak, 30% 1-2 year old blend of French & American oak

 

Cépage: Cabernet Sauvignon 90%, Merlot 10%

 

Case Production: 630

Becoming of Age! 

CCabernet2012BottleShot
 

Winemaker’s Notes:

 

Color: Dark, Dark, Dark

 

Aromas: Blueberries, cassis and lavender

 

Flavors: Ripe black current, spice, long finish