A sensational varietal Petit Verdot that’s rich and velvety, lush and intense, with a hint of Bordeaux’s typical herbiness, that evolves into some of the best blackberry, mocha and spicy chocolate you can imagine.
Virginie Boone – Wine Enthusiast Magazine
This quarter, we release three handcrafted wines guaranteed to delight the palate: Sauvignon Blanc (2018), Petit Verdot (2014), and our proprietary red blend Telos (2016).
2018 Founder’s Sauvignon Blanc ($25)
It might be argued that Sauvignon Blanc is Livermore Valley’s most famous cultivar. This was the wine, after all, that won the Grand Prize at the 1889 Paris Exposition and catapulted Cresta Blanca Winery and Livermore Valley to the top of the winemaking world.
For over a century, Livermore Sauvignon Blanc has been prized for being a touch grassy (but not too much), with a spectrum of fruits from citrus to stony. In the best years, a vein of minerality ties the whole package together. These historic flavor elements are what we seek in our Sauvignon Blanc, a recapturing of a traditional Livermore style that our Valley was once famous for producing.
Achieving this historic ‘Livermore’ style requires care and skill from the growers and the winemaking team. To begin with, we impose strict handling procedures for the fruit, from night time harvest, daybreak delivery, and in-house processing. We whole cluster press the fruit using a proprietary pressing cycle structured to minimize skin contact. Perhaps the most daring step, however, and what differentiates us from most wineries, is that we don’t add sulfites at crush. Not because we eschew the use of sulfites, but because we believe that at this early stage of the winemaking process sulfites interfere with the expression of the Livermore terroir.
Our 2018 vintage combines citrus and tropical flavors with just that hint of varietal herbaceous nose. Refreshing acidity ties the package together – truly a palate pleasing wine for summer.
2014 Heritage Petit Verdot ($40)
The rest of the world would have us believe that Petit Verdot arrived in California in 1975, and that the first cuttings were planted at Mount Veeder Winery in Napa Valley by Michael and Arlene Bernstein. However, we know differently! Actually, the first California planting of this classic Bordeaux variety was in Livermore Valley more than a century ago. As early as 1912, local winemaker Theodor Gier was promoting Petit Verdot’s virtues as a wine of uncommon intensity and elegance – characters still expressed in this wine today.
We have been producing Petit Verdot as a single varietal wine since our founding in 2008. Over the years, we have noticed this wine has remarkable aging potential; the greatest sin is to release it ‘too young.’ That is why we have held off release of this wine until now – two years in barrel and three more years in the bottle where it has been carefully aged at constant temperature.
Our 2014 vintage is rich and intense and filled with spicy perfume – a wonderful wine for summer barbeque.
2016 Founder’s Telos – Livermore’s ‘Lost’ Blend ($40)
In The Lost Blend, American writer O. Henry describes a marathon blending session in which two partners struggle to recreate a mystical libation they had discovered by chance years earlier. The partners succeed, but only when they remember the one, secret ingredient that brought all the elements of the blend together in a single bottle, although not before spending a night in jail for unruly conduct.
Flash forward a century to a gray, January morning in our library room strewn with glasses, flasks, and sticky notes. A solitary winemaker struggles to craft a singular expression of Livermore Valley. Some blends capture the ethereal, while others display the rock-strewn soils where the grapes are grown. But no combination balances both the ethereal and the worldly in a single blend. Until that is, the winemaker stumbles upon a secret ingredient, creating the perfect marriage of varieties forbidden in the Old World.
This, however, is California, where the mandates of the Old World don’t apply. More important, this is the Livermore Valley, where a small lot winery like ours has a treasury of unusual varieties to choose from. From these fertile grounds, TELOS is born, and the secret ingredient is now locked away for future years. TELOS 2014, a forbidden marriage of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot – and the secret ingredient.
We hope that you enjoy these new wines as much as we do. As with all of our wines, each has a story to tell of our valley. We hope you have the opportunity to visit us and experience these stories first-hand. You might even find out what this year’s secret ingredient is!