Often said, but very true, all great wine starts in the vineyard. Our project's name reflects our strong belief in that philosophy. It is truly all about place in combination with the highest quality fruit and letting the varietal and regional TYPICITY of the wine shine through from vineyard to glass...Liquid from Farming.
We allow the wines to develop on their own with little intervention, minimal or no new oak and use no additives or machines to manipulate the wines inherent personality. The project is also committed to blending from the handful of special vineyards we work with in the small AVA of Sta. Rita Hills to produce a collection of Chardonnays that are markedly different expressions, but with the same thread of intense minerality and salinity they started with in the vineyard.
From vineyard to glass, here is what we do and why:
Expression of SRH as a Whole
Others have made outstanding single vineyard wines from this region, but our goal is to create a house style among the 3 Chardonnay bottlings by relying on the unique nuances and strengths that each vineyard brings to the table.
Wines of Modest Alcohol and Preserved Natural Acidity
Our lower alcohol content and natural acidity are due to the cool climate of SRH as well as its soils. This also means picking early and soon after phenolically ripe to attain a lower potential alcohol and keep acidity high and pH low which equates to more balanced, table-friendly wines.
Minimal Contact in the Winery
The wine is generally left to its own devices after it is handpicked and gently pressed post-harvest. Native yeast fermentation is also carried out for all new barrels and an increasing amount of neutral barrels.
No machines or other processes are used to alter the natural color, flavor or alcohol level. This is another set of alterations surprisingly more commonly used than one would think. You can spin out alcohol, add Mega-Purple or oak chips and there are even flavor additives that can legally be used. Wine labels sadly warrant ingredient lists.
In the past three vintages that we can speak of, the Chardonnays have gone through the gamut of 10-100% ML. We don't force the wine through (to rev up body and creaminess) and we don't restrain either (for forced leanness or to balance overripe fruit). It's au naturale.
We predominantaly use neutral oak (used min. 4-5 times and as a result don't impart ANY aromas/flavors), as we prefer Chardonnay profiles made allowing small amounts of oxygen. Stainless tanks don't allow oxygen at all, while heavy new/charred oak tends to mask the fruit.
The wave of the future, this cork provides the best of a natural cork (because it is!) – It's biodegradable and breathable, but without the risk of cork taint (musty overtones) or bottle variation that occurs with uneven oxygen transfer into the wine over time.
Naked or Waxed
In an effort to lower our carbon footprint (and because it looks sexier), we use no traditional PVC capsules. Instead we leave every bottle naked/topless (no capsule at all – Go Green Go Topless!) or use a soft wax, which is a biodegradable material much like bees wax.