"Califa" is the Modoc Indian term for "prettiest one", and that's what these wines are to us. These bottlings are blended from the most opulent, seductive and powerful barrels of the vintage. The Califa wines are the result of stringent tastings and evaluations to ensure that these few bottles truly are the most intense and flavorful wines of the vintage.
Chamisal was the first vineyard planted in the Edna Valley in 1973 and now contains 80 acres planted to 5 varieties and 25 clonal selections. The nearby Pacific ocean creates a long temperate growing season for exceptional hang time, which combines with the calcareous, clay-rich soil to produce fruit with exceptional intensity and complex flavors.
2010 will go down as one of the coolest years in Californian history. A very chilly spring with significant frost events delayed budbreak 10-14 days behind normal. Due to cooler La Nina ocean temperatures, the summer was much cooler than average with the June coastal fog persisting into July and August. An extended heat wave in the last week of September gave us record-breaking heat, with temperatures exceeding 110°F for four days, allowing ripening to catch up a bit. While this necessitated the picking of some of our early clones of Pinot Noir, the majority weathered the heat very well and could be picked at the peak of flavor ripeness in early October.
The fruit was hand harvested at night in 25 separate picks and predominantly destemmed after meticulous hand sorting, with a small percentage left whole cluster. Each pick was treated to a cold soak of five to seven days, increasing color and density before it was fermented separately in small open-top fermentors. Both native and cultured yeasts were used combined with low fermentation temperatures to give soft phenolics and fresh aromatics. The wines were then racked to 60% new French oak for nine months before blending, then aged an additional six months in the barrel.
Early ripening Clone 2A is the core of the blend, contributing ample red fruit and delicious tannin. Archery Summit Clone gives this wine an exotic spice and great depth. Clone 113 provides ageability and structure while Clone 777 provides luscious red and black fruit.
This wine offers a big, rich nose full of boysenberry, raspberry and blackberry with a hints of citrus, cedar and floral notes. An entry of ripe fruit opens onto a weighty palate that begs to be aged. Showing great balance now, this wine will open up beautifully over the next few years.
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