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After a careful field selection, the grapes were handpicked and the gently crushed and put in open top fermenters, where they received a minimum three days of cold soak. Pasteur Red yeast was used and fermentation was held at 80 degrees F, and continued until dryness, about 12 days. The tanks were drained and pomace transferred by hand to the press where it received a gentle pressing. All wine was settled in a tank for 24 hours, then racked into oak cooperage for aging. After 20 months in 100% seasoned French oak, the wine was racked into a tank, fined with organic egg whites, and loosely filtered before bottling.
It was in the mid-eighties when after reading a Sunset magazine article about Mendocino County that we discovered this special place: a highland valley where the waters of the Russian and Navarro Rivers start and part, and where the giant coastal redwoods and valley oaks come together.
After a visit we started looking for a property the following week. A number of them had small vineyards. We fell in love with the three ancient oaks on this property and were intuitively convinced that such a place would foster complex and richly favored grapes, and secured a 110 acre ranch in the town of Yorkville (Pop. 317). There were already a few acres of neglected Sauvignon Blanc. With the help and dedication of our vineyard manager and application of the latest organic practices, we restored those vines to fine, healthy plants. So the excellent quality of the small amount of fruit that these vines yielded became very encouraging. Over a few years the vineyards were expanded to 30 acres and the first Yorkville Cellars estate wines were bottled in 1994.
Deborah was raised in the London area and it was common to have a bottle of claret on the dinner table. Edward's maternal side is Italian, so likewise a family meal wasn't considered complete without wine. Our passion, and knowledge about wine was dramatically enhanced in the years before Mendocino when we had the opportunties to live in Italy near Lake Como; in Germany at the southern edge of the Rheingau; and in Paris. Each afforded the opportunity to constantly explore old world vineyards and wineries. We feel very fortunate to have had that experience. It was excellent background and knowledge before starting Yorkville Cellars.
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