Because I’ve always been driven to make extraordinary vintages, no detail of winemaking escapes me. Every morning and afternoon during the initial fermentation of Cattleya Cuvée Number One Pinot Noir 2018, I lived and breathed this wine, testing, sampling, gathering information, and constantly readjusting the must. Likewise, during the press of Cuvée Number Five Chardonnay 2018, I gave every part of the process equal attention, knowing that each choice I made was as important as it was irrevocable.
For me, winemaking starts with the vines. Working the 2006 harvest in Burgundy taught me that the decisions producers make are crucial to growing the best possible fruit, which in turn is important for crafting the most distinguished wine. In California I stay true to this principle I learned in France. Because I know that meticulous attention to practices in the vineyards–even to small decisions–influences the fruit, I visit the particular blocks on the vineyards from which I source my appellation blends every week. This year marks the craft of the ninth harvest of the Pinot Noir fruit that goes into the Cuvée Number One, and as always I stayed as closely connected with the life of the grapes as with their transformation in tank, barrel, and bottle.
Cattleya Cuvée Number Five 2018 represents the beauty and distinctiveness of two vineyard sites on the Sonoma Coast, high elevation sites where the fog lingers longer. The 2018 vintage blends three distinctive Chardonnay clones. Each small lot was harvested at night in the latter half of September and delivered to the winery by dawn. We hand-sorted the fruit from each and every lot and pressed it gently in a small bladder press. Aged in 85% neutral French oak for 11 months, the wine was then bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Remarkable wine showcases the appellation or vineyard from which it comes, and Cattleya Cuvée Number One 2018 is no exception. Our Pinot Noir is a pure reflection of Green Valley, one of the coolest sub-appellations within the Russian River Valley. This small vineyard is laden with fog in the mornings and warmed by sun in the afternoons, so that clusters ripen at a measured pace to achieve perfect ripeness. The three clones from which this cuvee drew upon were fermented separately in small, stainless steel open-top tanks. The wine aged for 11 months on French Oak Barrels, 30% new, and was bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Cattleya Cuvée Number One Pinot Noir 2017 earned a “Wow!” from Wine Advocate: “medium-bodied in the mouth with a silky texture and perfumed, spicy fruits,” this wine finishes “long and layered.”
Cattleya Cuvée Number Five Chardonnay 2017 dazzled Connoisseurs’ Guide: “This is a wine that is too good to be missed.” Best Wines of the Year 2019.
Visit the Cattleya website for more reviews and press.
I craft wine with thorough and painstaking care for every part of the process. To make something magical, I need to be directly and personally connected to the vineyard, and I commit a great deal of time finding and overseeing practices at great vineyards that foreground the very best expressions of their regions. In this way, I’m convinced that the meaning of an appellation blend is equal parts practical and philosophical. I’m delighted to share with you the outcome of my thinking, my care, and my attention in the 2018 vintage of Cattleya Cuvée Number One and Number Five.