In every aspect of the winemaking process, winemaker Nathan DeCamps is vigilant in the process to recognize the unique qualities of the grapes and to respect that. This starts with valuable relationships with growers, their vineyards, and their farming practices.
Vista Verde Vineyard, San Benito County
Vista Verde Vineyard is one of the five Estate vineyards of Williams Selyem. The vineyard is cooled by Pacific Ocean breezes that penetrate through gaps in the Gavilan and Santa Lucia mountain ranges. The surrounding mountains and valleys around this vineyard, some 25 miles inland sitting at 1,000 feet in elevation, creates a significant maritime influence. This causes a pronounced diurnal temperature variation that creates a long, slow growing season.
The growing season is ideal for the aromaticity to develop without the loss of the all-important acidity dropping off. In addition, the San Andreas Fault runs through virtually all of San Benito which has used an upshift of mainly limestone, but also other geological features including granite. This causes stress on the vines and resulting minerality to the wines. Specifically, the well-drained soil of Vista Verde consists of rock and pebble with some calcium carbonate lenses and an abundance of limestone with severe limestone fractures.
This comes from a family-owned vineyard that has been growing grapes and making wine in the same area since the mid-1850s. The property features rows of dynamically trellised vines with an expertly managed canopy. The vineyard drops large amounts of fruit, keep yields low, has skilled vineyard workers and pickers, and its clusters come out absolutely perfect.
After the first year, winemaker Nathan DeCamps had the opportunity to select the specific vines he desired. The vineyard sits around 2,010 feet in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and receives a cool delta breeze, emphasized by the east-west oriented rows for maximum air flow, allowing for longer hang time and therefore flavor development. What first drew him to the vineyard, and is a major driving force in the wine’s flavor profile, is the fundamentally important Volcanic Soil with substantial rock upturned. The well- drained soil from this vineyard has given both complex and high minerality, acid, perfume, and savory flavors. The tannins are dusty.
Jurassic Park Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley
Sitting at just over 1,000 feet, Jurassic Park Vineyard remains planted to its original own rooted vines planted in 1982. The rolling hills have a continuous cool pacific breeze, and are composed of very low vigor, low nutrient, and highly drained soil of sand and loose sandstone. The vineyard’s name plays tribute to the fossil rich soil. The low nutrient growing environment and old gnarled vines produce natural low yields and small berries. All together this special vineyard produces Chenin Blanc with a strong textural richness, abundance of acidity, earthiness, and high minerality.
Dutton Ranch Shop Block Vineyard, Russian River Valley
The vineyard is the original Dutton Ranch property purchase by Warren Dutton in 1964 where their “Shop” remains today. Located in the coldest Green Valley AVA of Russian River Valley, cool air lingers. This microclimate allows especially for aromatic whites to develop slowly and evenly while maintaining great acidity. The dry-farmed, well-drained Goldridge soil provides small intense and balanced berries. This vineyard is also Sonoma County Sustainable and 100% Fish-Friendly farmed certified.
Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
Lying in the easternmost part of the Santa Ynez Valley, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara is the smallest AVA in Santa Barbara County. This vineyard is situated between the North-South San Rafael mountain range, and one of only a few in the world East-West oriented mountain ranges: the Santa Ynez. This creates the greatest change in diurnal temperature of any AVA in Santa Barbara, consisting of around 50 degrees. The hot days and cool nights allow the sugar, acid and fruit to develop harmoniously. This, along with loam, high minerality, interspersed cobbles and poor nutrients lend to intense fruit with abundant acidity.
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