We are excited to share with you our SecondEdition, created by winemaker Brian Brown and benefiting Family Services of Napa Valley.
What makes this DeMassive?
It’s what I want to drink after work!
It’s what I want to drink after work!
TastingNotes from the WineMaker
True to our founding principle of making wines that would both challenge and educate us, we actively searched out Pinot Gris because of its relative rarity as a planted vine in California and its lack of representation on wine lists.
Having spent most of my career making Sauvignon Blanc which is a great wine in its youth but possessing a short shelf life, I was attracted to Pinot Gris because of its ability to age gracefully and develop nuance over time.
Once we decided that we were going to produce a Pinot Gris we spent several weeks acquiring and tasting Pinot Gris from all over the world. The styles vary more widely than just about any other grape in commercial production and quality was all over the place. We definitely found ourselves leaning towards the wines from Alsace more than any other region, because of their depth of personality and overall balance. By doing all this “research” we gained insight into how the wines were made and what would offer our wine most nuance and complexity. Pinot Gris on its own can make a wonderful wine but we found that when blended with Riesling and Gewurztraminer a nobility developed in the cuvee; truly a situation where the whole was greater than the sum of the parts.
We found a site in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley that was on a well-drained Southwest facing slope. I always base picking decisions on taste and in 2012 the grapes said they were ready to be harvested on September 3rd. We wanted to make a wine with good weight which I knew could be achieved with some skin contact so we opted to destem the fruit into half ton bins and let it soak overnight prior to loading the berries into the press. We made four different press cuts so that I could control how much phenolic extract would be present in solution. After settling and racking off gross lees the juice was fermented in seventy five gallons stainless drums. The press cuts were all distinctive and we worked on blending them together in November, ultimately deciding not to include some of the hard press portion because of an obvious astringency. Once the base was put together we started playing around with adding Riesling and Gewurztraminer that I sourced from some winemaker friends. The final blend came together in early December, and we let the wine merry for three months and bottled on March 1st.
Although Brian cranked out a degree in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis and has spent the last twelve years in the wine business, he feels the honeymoon’s not nearly over. From internships at Iron Horse Vineyards in Sonoma, Salitage in Pemberton, Australia, and Napa Wine Company in Oakville to his first full time gig as an Enologist at Trefethen Vineyards, Brian learned how to make technically sound, vineyard driven wines that expressed fruit qualities over those of winemaking manipulation. After two and a half years of grunt and gristle, he decided to focus on ultra-premium small production winemaking at Vineyard 29 in Napa Valley, then moving to the newly built Round Pond Estate Winery where he remained for seven vintages. As if that weren’t enough to keep him satiated, Brian was concurrently offered the opportunity to lead a small team in developing the ONX program in the heart of the Templeton Gap of Paso Robles. In the Spring of 2014, Brian turned his full focus to ONX Wines, as Winemaker and Director of Operations. His coals remain fully stoked.
Charity: Family Service of Napa Valley
For this edition of FlyWine, a portion of sales will be donated to the Family Service of Napa Valley. Based here in Napa FSNV provides affordable, professional counseling/psychotherapy to individuals of all ages, couples, and families, in both English and Spanish. In the last 6 months of 2014 we were able to raise over $5,000 working together.