On March 30th, our founder, my grandfather Arturo celebrated his 90th birthday! We had a wonderful weekend with family and friends celebrating a life well lived, shared stories and laughs, took many pictures and of course enjoyed wonderful wines. We dug into our cellar and brought out some of our most stellar wines for the celebration. Our choices for the day were the 2008 Precioso Chardonnay and 2014 Rotie, it made us happy to add a few more milestone vintages to his special day.
There's something to be said about drinking newly released wine, with its robust, fresh, and wild flavors exciting the palate. Although it is known that aging wines can bring out exceptional and nuanced flavors to the tasting and drinking experience, over 90% of wine is consumed within 48 hours of purchase. Yet, there is a wonderful things about aged wines, and there are several tasting room jewels from the Keller Family's Cellar we want to share with you.
HERE ARE SOME OF MY THOUGHTS ON ENJOYING AGED WINE:
Older wine needs to be carefully tended to have a successful experience. Once the wine arrives home and before you decide to open a bottle, it should rest for a couple of days, or longer, in a cool place, allowing the wine sediment to settle and cork to moist and expand.
The optimum temperature is the low 60 degrees when opening wine, as the wine will warm up in your glass.
Opening the wine can sometimes be difficult, as the cork may soften. Do not despair if the cork breaks apart, as you can pour the wine slowly through a filter or tight mesh strainer. Once the cork and foil have been removed, wipe the bottleneck clean. You will want to decant the wine carefully, pouring slowly and steadily, without stopping, into the decanter or large, clean container. Once you see the sediment in the neck of the bottle, stop pouring and discard the remaining wine.
THOUGHTS ON FOOD PAIRINGS….
Let's talk briefly about pairing food with aged wine: an easy rule is that young wines pair better with fast cooked meals, think grilled meats. When pairing for an aged wine, then choosing a slow-cooked food will make that wine shine. Beef Bourguignon, for a pinot noir, a seafood risotto for a chardonnay.
Winter is when we have a chance to forget about the vineyard for a few months. Plants go dormant, and pruning starts early in 2022. As it was to be, we had an atmospheric river come through Sonoma County in October, irrigating our vineyards and putting water in our ponds. We were, of course, very relieved.
However, a warm fall meant that the water reinvigorated the plants and didn't go straight to dormancy. It's December and to our surprise we have some beautiful magnolias in full bloom. Traditionally bloom happens between late January and March. We also are seeing some swelling of the vines; thankfully, it is now very cold, and hopefully, the vines will go dormant. I encourage you to look around, and you will notice these changes. We need to take notice and have a constant reminder to take action and combat global warming.
At Keller Estate, we will continue to review all our practices and establishing new goals to reduce our footprint. Our vineyard practices, infrastructure, bottling, we will do everything we can and invite you to take action too.
As we look forward to new beginnings, we invite you to check out our fun-filled calendar of in-person and online activities for 2022. Some classic favorites (our Harvest celebration and car rally are back). New are some fun activities that will make your day just a little more exciting with a glass of Keller Estate by your side.
I would like to take a moment and acknowledge the work of all our team. Javier Rascon started as Vineyard Manager in January 2021, and he had a brutal drought season. After nurturing and carefully tending to our vines, I know 2022 will feel like a breeze. Julien Teichmann continues to craft stellar wines and find new ways to improve our quality. The third critical member is Jose Cruz, our Hospitality Manager, whose passion for serving wine to our guests and creating a friendly hospitality team has made our Tasting Room a wonderful place to visit.
Together with their teams and the Keller family, we wish you happy holidays and a healthy, happy 2022.
The diversity of our wines comes from years of vineyard exploration, a careful understanding of the Petaluma Gap, how our grapes grow in this wine region, and respect for the essence of our fruit.
Our sustainably certified vineyard incorporates practices derived from organics and regenerative farming that we have learned over the years. These practices include bee-keeping, owl and bat boxes, a flock of over 200 sheep that graze and fertilize our land, and careful management of the pond system that ensures our water supply.
Currently we are re-planting 18 acres of our original vineyard, planted in 1989. As we've learned more about our region, we are making changes to ensure our vineyard will produce beautiful grapes for the next 40 years.
La Cruz Vineyard
The ancient seabed of the San Pablo Bay is mineral rich, with clay soils that define this vineyard. Planted to chardonnay, pinot noir, syrah, viognier, and pinot gris, this is the heart of Keller Estate. Typical to this vineyard is a bright acidity and signature spice notes. In 1989, the first Chardonnay vines were planted, and La Cruz Vineyard was born, years ahead of Keller Estate producing wine.
El Coro Vineyard
Sitting at the ridgetop of the Estate, this vineyard's loam soils are even more exposed to the wind than the La Cruz Vineyard. Planted exclusively to Pinot Noir, this jewel offers extraordinarily complex pinot noirs with delicate aromatics and structured tanins.
Defined by its unique wind and fog conditions and their effect on the vines, the Petaluma Gap was designated on December 7, 2017, as an American Viticultural Area (AVA). The Petaluma Gap produces premium grapes that make it one of California’s best areas for growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah. Just 25 miles north of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, it’s also the premier gateway to the Sonoma Coast and northern Marin County wine region. Keller Estate's vineyard is the Petaluma Gap's founding members.
A typical summer day in the Gap begins with a distinctive, crisp coolness and a blanket of morning fog. By late morning the sun chases away the fog and temperatures rise. However, by mid-afternoon, the cooling maritime breezes begin, picking up speed as the afternoon progresses and bringing in fog almost every night. This cooling "wind tunnel" effect distinguishes the Petaluma Gap from our neighboring winegrowing areas. The impact of the wind results in lower yields and grapes that reach physiological ripeness much later and at lower sugar levels while developing intense flavors with ideal levels of acidity.
Wind and fog are the keys to this Northern California AVA, where vineyards are tucked into valleys and scattered on hillsides in perfect harmony with the area’s rural open space and rich agricultural history. A wind gap in the coastal mountain range funnels cooling breezes and fog east from the Pacific Ocean through the city of Petaluma and south to San Pablo Bay.
Those on our mailing list are invited to the Estate as family and will receive future correspondences and vintage offerings.