News from the vine March 2019
I am writing to you from my small office inside a frigid cellar. There are background sounds of a forklift and cases being stacked. The days of having an ”off season” are now roughly 9 years in the past. Now, we continue in the cellar at a steady pace, caring for the wines in barrels and in bottles. This time of the year is important because this is where I start to make my decisions on how to handle wines towards the finish line of bottling. The 2018 wines in the barrels are starting to show their characters, and that is very satisfying. I am confident that we will have a great bottling for the 2018 vintage.
Next week will mark daylight savings time which I usually consider the beginning of the new season. It is now that we can all look forward to spring’s long awaited arrival. I am ecstatic that the hundreds of Rhododendrons we have planted all around the winery and our home will soon bloom!
The Season so far:
The atmospheric rivers of this winter keep coming. As of today, our annual rainfall total is 44.42 inches here in the Ben Lomond Mountain AVA. Last year’s total was 42.73 and March is typically the wettest month of the year in Bonny Doon. There is record snowfall in Lake Tahoe. The rivers are flooding towns in the Russian River Valley and additionally there are floods in many places in Napa and Santa Rosa leaving vines under water, and one winery destroyed. Needless to say the ground in Bonny Doon is saturated and therefore the vines should be able to flourish this season without the typical use of irrigation. I also expect ( based upon last year’s warmer season) that the bud development will leave us with a heavier than usual fruit set leading to our ability to make more wine!
In the Vineyard:
Pruning is completed at Beauregard Ranch and almost completed at Coast Grade. In between storms we will prune Bald Mountain. Coast Grade and Beauregard Ranch combined are 28 acres, while Bald Mountain alone is 32 acres. We have been working our crew of 5 guys with a really awesome outside vineyard crew and combined we contributed a total 833 man hours so far which is equivalent to 104 days for one person.
To say the least, pruning is very costly, but is one of the most important parts of setting the stage for the next season’s crop
In the Cellar:
I have been putting blends together for the next bottling. Last week I blended 28 barrels of the next vintage of The Lost Weekend. This vintage is Zinfandel based which should be a very nice crowd pleaser and a wine that will quickly be your weeknight favorite. We are happy to be able to offer a more approachable everyday drinking wine once again! The opportunities for grapes outside of our estate vineyards are hit and miss, and often find me late in the season. I will also be blending the return of the Meritage blend to be released around the same time as the Lost Weekend. Keep an eye out for these! I am very excited to get these wines to you.
It is all about the wines:
I am very pleased with the wines that I am releasing to you. In following my Burgundian passion, I present to you the 2016 Chardonnay from Regan Vineyard.
Regan is owned and operated by my friend John Bargetto. I have been working with John for the past 15 years off and on, but mostly on. Our families go back to the 1930’s in Santa Cruz County. My Great-Grandfather Amos Beauregard actually arrested one of the previous generations of Bagettos for transporting illegal wine in Soquel circa 1935. I do not think that encounter spawned a friendship, but more of a negative acquaintance.
Fast forward 10 years and Amos purchased our home ranch and started selling Zinfandel grapes to the Bargetto winery. I very much appreciate my relationship with the Bargettos and the Regan Vineyard is magnificent.
The terroir of this vineyard: The vineyard is very close to the Pacific Ocean and is a low elevation vineyard which sits at only 400 feet leaving it inside the fog for much of the growing season. The result is that on the nose the wine has a refreshing salinity and purity reflective of the site’s maritime proximity. The soil is a loamy clay interior mixed with fractured sandstone resulting in a mineral yet richer palate. The wine is aged on 20% new French oak which gives it a light hint of vanilla and spice tying the fruit together with the barrel. I expect this wine to age for 15-20 years. I suggest adding a couple of bottles to your purchase to experience the aging.
Next, and more important, is a wine that I am rather dumbfounded about because the quality is so extraordinary: The 2016 Pinot Noir Beauregard Ranch. As the roots dig deeper into the ground the vines are revealing their capabilities to produce world class Pinot Noir. These vines are very important because this site is one of the heritage vineyards of the Santa Cruz Mountains dating back to 1880 as a commercially producing vineyard making it the oldest site in the appellation. I take a lot of pride in this heritage. This vineyard is sacred land to my family; every relative for the past 78 years has had their ashes spread into the vineyard as they pass, and I will eventually end up as part of that soil too. To say I am connected to this land is an understatement, I was even born on that property only 15 yards from where this wine grows.
The terroir of this wine: The vineyard is very close to the ocean, measured by Google Earth to be 3.1 miles from the Pacific Ocean. On the nose, this wine is dusty, has hints of Christmas tree (Douglas Fir) and a slight botanical (manzanita) scent. The impressive elevation ranges are around 1,700 feet to just over 1,800 feet. This brilliant combination of ocean proximity and elevation, leads to more fruit development and more complexities, specifically acidity. The soil here is silty loam and sand bordered by redwood trees (think salamanders). In the Pinot Noir block 5 and 6 the soils are clay and sandstone. Block 1 and 3 are bordering a sandstone outcropping and chaparral (think rattlesnakes). This leads to the wines prevalent minerality on the palate. I tied this all together in French oak barrels crafted in Beaune, France in the heart of Burgundy. The barrels are designed specifically for mineral and aromatic Pinot Noir, and the new upgrade to this wine is frankly stunning.
World of Pinot Noir:
I wanted to take just a short moment to talk about an event that I participated in that I considered a major honor. I was invited to the amazing Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara to present my wines to some of the top critics, collectors, and general enthusiasts (like yourself). To my appreciation, on March 2nd, I was also invited to participate in the “Stars of the Central Coast” dinner of which Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s contributing editor Matt Kettman selected what he thought are the 12 best Pinot Noir producers in the Central Coast of California. There are 360 (most recent count I can find online) central coast wineries, and not to mention the Custom Crush producers that are involved. Anyhow, I was flattered to be included, and I wanted to share my excitement about this with you. The wine that I brought to this dinner is the wine that you have in your shipment for this release so enjoy and cellar if you can. I considered
this my best foot forward for the event and it is serendipitous that I can share this with you.
Well, it is now time for me to head back to my passion and get my hands into the beautiful Bonny Doon dirt. I want to thank you once again for being part of the Beauregard Vineyards community and for sharing my passion for making wine with me.
I certainly hope to cheers glasses with you in the near future.