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David Girard Vineyards

Grayson Hartley
May 19, 2015 | Grayson Hartley

Winemaker Notes - May

We’ve had a fantastic Spring in the vineyard, despite a few frost scares from some very low temperatures. “Tractor Season” is now upon us, and it began with mowing, as our cover crop’s legumes and native grasses quickly start to become unruly, and last year’s vine cuttings need to be mulched. After cleaning up the rows, we obsessively monitor the weather for warmer days that can be conducive to mildew, armed and at the ready with our new, state-of-the-art sprayer. We’ve made some very positive changes in our farming practices; stop by and check out the block of Mourvedre right outside the tasting room that will soon be up for Organic Certification. Most notable is that instead of using herbicide under the vines, we’ve driven through with a weed-cutting knife attached to the tractor.

Onto the new wines, this month’s release is the perfect match for Spring! At the end of a long, sunny Sunday planting tomatoes, a chilled glass of the new 2014 Rosé is the ideal reward. A more active social calendar calls for 2013 Vermentino: bring this surprisingly serious white to a dinner party and watch your friends light up in unanticipated pleasure. Lastly, 2011 Coda Rouge: a hearty red, full of spice, because it can still rain! Last weekend we recorded almost 2” in the gauge, and a few full-bodied reds were a necessary accompaniment as the fireplace roared all evening.

2014 Rosé

Our new Rosé blend is 62% Mourvèdre, 25% Grenache, and 12% Counoise. 2014  saw an unprecedentedly early harvest: Grenache was picked during the third week of August; Mourvèdre & Counoise were picked together shortly after. We use the traditional “direct-press” method, which means we crush these red grapes and soak them on their skins for a short period before fermentation, then press the pink juice off to ferment like a white wine in tank. A small portion was fermented in barrel, and contributes a smooth edge to the fresh, bright core of red and citrus fruit in this Rosé.

2013 Vermentino

We have one acre of Vermentino on the Estate, out of less than 100 in California. We enjoy the flavorful skins on these plump grapes, and the wine receives a unique vinification as a result. In 2013 our 3 ton harvest was de-stemmed and crushed, left to soak on the skins, then separated into two batches: 2/3 was pressed to neutral oak barrels for fermentation, and the remainder was left to ferment on its skins. We blended from these two components last summer, and bottled it without filtration in August 2014.

2011 Coda Rouge

Because 2011 was so cool, this is likely our most European iteration of Coda Rouge, our homage to the wines of the Southern Rhone. Sleek and enticing, this wine is chock-a-block full of spicy aromas, making it no surprise to find out that it’s Mourvedre-based (the 2010 had Grenache for a primary ingredient). Syrah follows, and Grenache and Counoise add some higher-toned fruit notes. On the palate, Syrah plays a strong supporting role, adding body and structure to the chewy, spicy notes of the Mourvedre. A very stylish wine with a sophisticated palate.




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