July 1997 Pre-release: The 1996 harvest had the lowest yields we have experienced since we began making our own wine from the vineyard in 1991. Our production was down 20% from 1995’s already low level. After several years’ experience making wines from different parts of the family vineyard and watching them develop separately and together in barrel, I think that the wines’ best interests will be served by keeping them as distinct bottlings in certain vintages. These are the same guidelines I use while making blending decisions at my daytime job at Dehlinger.
Another ‘mature’ area planted in 1975 produces a very soft but lively wine with an interesting cherry/strawberry-rhubarb pie character with a hint of black pepper. The wine is shaped very much like a good Pinot Noir, and responds very well to Burgundian cooperage. Grown behind the family barn primarily on shale subsoil, its growth habits and wine personality seem consistent year to year. Rather than call it the Barnyard bottling, I think we will call it the ‘Shale Terrace’ (after all these years, I’m beginning to learn about naming things.) We will have about 200 cases of this wine.