The Clark & Telephone Vineyard was established in 1972 and planted with ‘own root’ Martini clone vines. Located, just 13 miles from the ocean and situated on a west-facing slope, this vineyard experiences weather patterns that pull from west to east to bring cool fog and coastal breezes inland. This climate makes for later-ripening and longer-hanging grapes with a delightful fruitiness, great acidity and underlying flavor nuances that contribute additional complexity. Due to intensive pruning and crop-thinning, the vines produce loose clusters with small, intensely flavored berries. The result is dense, dark-berry fruit and abundant, sweet, baking-spice characteristics that are synonymous with the Martini clone.
THE 2016 GROWING SEASON:
We saw below average rainfall during winter followed by very warm weather in February which prompted early and rapid growth in the vineyard. After this jump start to the growing season, a blanket of coastal fog rolled in to keep temperatures in Santa Barbara County down during March and April. With cool weather through May, fruit set was slightly smaller than average. We enjoyed a mild and pleasant summer with cooling in August to provide nice hang time for the crop. The weather remained ideal during harvest, which began in mid-September about two weeks earlier than normal.
We harvested early in the morning so the fruit would arrive at the winery while the grapes were still cool to preserve the vineyard-fresh flavors. After de-stemming but not crushing the berries, we cold-soaked the fruit for up to two weeks to soften the skins and allow for ideal extraction. During fermentation in a combination of closed and open-top stainless steel fermenters, we used both punch-downs and pump-overs to extract color and tannins, and also to control temperatures and maximize flavors. We barreled only the free-run, discarding the press, then aged the wine in 100% French oak (60% new, 40% seasoned) for up to nine months. After racking the wine once malolactic fermentation was complete, we racked it a second time before making the final blend.
Bright ruby red with fresh, vibrant aromas of wild blackberry, raspberry jam and cedar box accented by rich floral notes. This wine is juicy and generous on the palate with sweet cherry, field-ripened strawberry, cranberry and just-baked gingerbread. Perfectly balanced with bright acidity and a supple mouthfeel. Fine grained tannins provide an authentic textural distinction and structural depth.