In 2008, we opened our winery whose design enables us to control all aspects of winemaking. We utilize a cold room to stabilize fruit temperatures before crush and fermentation, and we make wines in small batches, using different yeast treatments to capture the characteristics of our particular terroir. The layout also enables efficient and tender treatment of wines by permitting the gravity flow of wines from the crush pad to the production area below and into our barrel aging room built into a hill.
All of our 5000 cases of wine are grown on the estate where we work throughout the year to ensure the highest quality fruit. At harvest all grapes are picked by hand into lugs and sorted, then cooled before being crushed or fermented. Many wines are made in small lots so we can coax unique characteristics from different yeasts and terroir. For wines that are blended, blind taste tests are conducted to find the best blends for each vintage.
Our first wine was a 2005 Meritage, a Bordeaux blend of merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot. While the percentage of each varietal is based on blind taste tests conducted each season, the final result has been remarkably consistent.
Some wines are made in stainless steel; some in French oak barrels. Respecting differences of site terroir, yeast treatments and barrel types, we keep much red wine discretely labeled in small lots to enable hand selection of wines for special blending or bottling. Some years this has enabled us to select certain barrels for reserve status, when the characteristics of the wine merit this elevated status.
In 2009, we bottled two Reserve wines: a cabernet franc and a cabernet sauvignon. For us this recognizes a high quality which may be attributed to especially favorable growing conditions or simply the identification of best vineyard lots. Not all years will permit Reserve wines.
We also have made a white and a red Durant blend based upon the quantity of harvest available. Like our Smuggler Vineyards, the Durant name was also one of the Colorado silver mines of David’s great-grandfather.
In 2011, we bottled the second vintage of a white port style viognier, which we call Mille Fleurs, a tribute to the wonderful nose of the late harvest viognier at its heart. Made like a port, this wine was fortified with brandy and then aged almost two years in barrel, acquiring a flavor that makes it a candidate as an aperitif, an accompaniment to port’s traditional cheese side or simply an end to dessert.
Benoit Pineau took over winemaking duties in 2011. He is continuing our practice of making estate wines of single varietals, reds and whites. They include:
- Pinot Gris
- Cabernet Franc
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Petit Verdot