The 2020 vintage was one of immense challenge. After a beautiful growing season that looked on target for a classic harvest, on August 16th, 2020 an intense lightning storm ignited 27 fires that resulted in the CZU lightning complex fire that burned 86,000 acres in the region. Growers and winemakers across the region all responded differently, with some growers closer to the fires choosing not to harvest their crops and many winemakers choosing to make limited or no wine. Red wine poses the greatest risks in smoke impacted areas as the smoke compounds concentrate in the skins and red wines are fermented with the wine soaking on the skins for weeks. However, our white wines are made by putting grape clusters directly in the press and gently extract juice so even if present, the smoke components remain in the skins and typically have no measurable or perceptible impact on the resulting white wine.
We are particularly excited to share with you our inaugural release of the 2020 Mountain Winery Vineyard Chardonnay. This legendary site adjacent to Mount Eden in Saratoga towers 1300 feet above Silicon Valley on steep south-facing slopes of gravelly loam and fractured Franciscan shale. It was originally planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir around 1900 by the Burgundian Paul Masson, and yielded award-winning wines for 40+ years before ownership changed to a large beverage conglomerate and the vineyards were abandoned. The site is now famous as the site of the Mountain Winery music concert venue. In 2004, the latest owners decided to replant the vineyards with original cuttings sourced by Paul Masson from Burgundy and we have been trying for several years to get access to the fruit. We are thrilled to be the first winery outside of the venue to produce a delicious single-vineyard Chardonnay from the site and are excited to rediscover the origins of the legend with you through this wine.
We also are releasing a 2020 Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay which is a delicious blend of Chardonnays from several of our vineyard sites including Bruzzone Vineyard, Bozzo Gulch (debuting in fall), and Le Boeuf Vineyard.
Also in this release is a returning wine club favorite, the 2021 Bates Ranch Grenache Rosé, which is crisp, refreshing, and delicious. This rosé has a bit more pink color in this vintage, which will liven up your get togethers, perfect for picnics, warm evening meals on the deck, or as a versatile wine to pop with friends.
As a small winery just coming into stride, we made the decision to forgo making Pinot Noir in 2020 as our two sites were close to the fires and their smoke paths so there will be no single vineyard Pinot Noir released in 2022. Most our Chardonnay sites were many miles from the fires, and with diligent winemaking and multiple rounds of analytical testing and blind tasting, we are certain that we have crafted Chardonnays that meet our highest standards and that you will be delighted to cellar and drink them. And we are thankful to come off a great 2021 vintage where we added several new vineyards, produced more wines than ever including several new red wines, and they are already showing to be delicious in barrel. And for the fast-approaching 2022 vintage we will have three single-vineyard Pinot Noir programs including an exciting new site in Ben Lomond called the Coast Grade Vineyard.