We drove out there, and it was a nice trip. The tour was pretty short, and there’s not much else to do but a tasting — be careful because you’re driving home! — and buy a few more bottles.
I’d never been to a vineyard before, so a lot of this is probably old-hat for veteran oenophiles. The machinery was cool.
These fermenters are two layers — there’s an inner tank inside and the controlled-temperature water flows around between the inside and the outside, keeping it at the proper level. Left to their own devices, the yeast will ramp up to 100 degrees and the wine tastes cooked.
The guy in the blue shirt was the guide, and he was quite good. We learned a lot about aspects of the “terroir” such as our climate zone, elevation, the slant of the ground towards the sun — and how they experiment with different varietals and clones of varietals among their different properties. For example, they don’t grow Cabernet at all any more because it doesn’t ripen reliably at this latitude.
They’re top-level wines go for over $50 a bottle, which isn’t all that much for a top-level wine. Though we don’t spend even that. We settle for their first- and second-tier wines, which are very nice themselves.