Migration 

11.01.2018

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Michael Zardo Winemaker,
Ten Acre

November Migration

Harvest is the time when the promise of an entire growing season comes to fruition, with perfect grapes hanging majestically on the vine. It can captivate the senses with the pristine beauty of vineyards picked under moonlight, or the smell of fermenting wine. At the same time, it can be nerve-racking knowing that the fate of an entire vintage can be dependent upon the decision of when to pick. 

Happily, the big story of our 2018 harvest is that it was wonderfully drama free. Mother Nature couldn’t have been kinder. In the run-up to harvest, the weather was gorgeous—and by that I mean nice and cool. This is ideal for several reasons. When the weather during harvest is hot, it can force your hand to pick as sugar levels skyrocket in the grapes, and acid levels drop. Cool weather allows the grapes to make a gentle final push to ripeness while preserving the natural acidity that is so essential to great Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Equally important, when the weather is cool, we can pick at our leisure, harvesting select blocks at that Goldilocks moment of ripeness, when the flavors are vibrant and the sugars and acids strike a perfect balance. To sum it up, I am a very happy (albeit tired) winemaker, who is excited to share our 2018 wines with you in the years ahead.

Until then, we have some wonderful wines for you! We very excited to enclose our 2016 Stephens Vineyard Pinot Noir, an exceptional wine with sophisticated aromas of blackberry, forest floor, cherry and spice, and our 2016 Three Perch Pinot Noir, which is one of the darkest and most robustly fruited wines we make. The radiant 2016 Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay rounds out your shipment. While it has yet to be reviewed, the previous vintage earned 97 points from PinotFile, which called it “Chardonnay Nirvana.”

Very best wishes,
Michael Zardo – Winemaker, Ten Acre

“Happily, the big story of our 2018 harvest is that it was wonderfully drama free. Mother Nature couldn’t have been kinder.”

— Michael Zardo, Winemaker

 

Migration 

9.01.2018

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Michael Zardo Winemaker,
Ten Acre

September Migration

In the run-up to harvest, I wake between 2 and 4 a.m. each day, pull on my Red Wing work boots, and head out to the vineyards to check the development of the grapes. I evaluate the grapes in the cool of nighttime, because that is also when we pick the fruit, and it is important that we get an accurate reading of the chemistry of the grapes. While we do lab analysis on the grapes, my sensory evaluation is every bit as important—if not more. Walking through the vine rows I try to be fairly random in my sampling, so as not to cherry pick perfect clusters. Luckily, being random is fairly easy in the dark! 

As I make multiple passes through our blocks, I’ll taste the grapes to see where the flavors are at, look at the seeds for lignification, and rub the skins between my fingers to see if they are releasing color. All the while, I’ll be gathering samples, some from the morning-sun side of the vines, others from the afternoon side. Based on soil type, clone, rootstock, vine age, elevation and other factors, each block we work with is unique. In the predawn hours, I often imagine how my favorite blocks from different vineyards would work together in a blend. In its simplest form, this idea is the inspiration for our new Boots Block Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. 

From the nectarine, citrus and wet stone minerality of the Chardonnay to the luxurious layers of cherry, blackberry, cedar, fig and forest floor of the Pinot Noir, these block and barrel selection wines are something special. We are also excited to share our 2014 Jenkins Vineyard Pinot Noir. Displaying gorgeous flavors of wild strawberry, raspberry and plum underscored by notes of cigar box and saddle leather, it’s a complex and delicious expression Pinot. The add-on for this shipment is the dazzling 2015 Ritchie Chardonnay, which was recently spotlighted in PinotFile, where Rusty Gaffney hailed it as “Chardonnay Nirvana,” scoring it 97 points!

Very best wishes,
Michael Zardo – Winemaker, Ten Acre

“Walking through the vine rows I try to be fairly random in my sampling, so as not to cherry pick perfect clusters. Luckily, being random is fairly easy in the dark!”

— Michael Zardo, Winemaker

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Migration  

03.01.2017

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Michael Zardo Winemaker,
Ten Acre

March Migration

As a winemaker, the great vineyards I work with become like old friends. My relationship with these sites grows and evolves with every new vintage, as they share their secrets and what makes them so unique and special.  And, like old friends, the more attentive I am, the more they reveal their distinctive charm and character. In practice, this means working block-by-block and fermenting in small lots, with a focus on accentuating the flavorful personalities of these exceptional vineyards, so that they burst through fully realized in our Ten Acre wines. 

I started working with the famed Soberanes Vineyard in Santa Lucia Highlands a number of years back when I was the assistant winemaker at Pisoni (who are co-owners of the vineyard). It’s a remarkable site, and our 2016 Soberanes Vineyard Pinot Noir is a glorious wine with intense fruit, great acidity and impeccable balance. Our 2015 Green Acres Hills Chardonnay comes from the Hill Block of an outstanding vineyard farmed by the legendary Sangiacomo family. Planted to the Old Wente Clone, it has produced a rich and texturally driven wine with stunning aromatics. Our 2015 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir was made using grapes from a who’s who of elite Sonoma Coast vineyards, including Jenkins, Stephens and Three Perch. Layered, complex and captivating, it offers a dazzling expression of cool-climate Pinot Noir that will pair perfectly with spring and summer fare.

I hope that these wonderful wines find a welcome place on your table surrounded by family and friends.

Very best wishes,
Michael Zardo – Winemaker, Ten Acre

"My relationship with these sites grows and evolves with every new vintage, as they share their secrets and what makes them so unique and special.  And, like old friends, the more attentive I am, the more they reveal their distinctive charm and character."

— Michael Zardo, Winemaker

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