Best of Class, Gold Medal - 2013 Sonoma County Harvest Fair
Gold Medal - 2013 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Tasting
Platinum - 2013 San Diego Int'l Wine Competition
The Altes Vineyard is located in the Rincon Valley area of Santa Rosa just off Brush Creek Road to the east, up on the Hills. The Syrah receives afternoon sun and warmer evenings than most of Sonoma County. Those who know the area know that little valley runs north to south with no exposure to the many wind tunnels coming in from the coast. This gave the vineyard a long ripening period with amazing sun exposure. The berries were incredibly small with tough dark skins.
The fruit arrived at the winery in the early morning hours, where it was crushed and fermented in a small one ton open top fermenter. Due to the berry size being so small and there being very little juice we were forced to mix or punch down the cap by hand. Not using a punch down stick but actually mixing and stirring with our arms as to make sure to keep every skin moist and to be as gentle as possible. The wine was then pressed in a large basket press and aged in 1 year old French oak barrels for the next 10 months, with one clean racking prior to bottling. The wine was put to tank and given a mild egg white fining to help bring and pull all the unique flavors together.
The resulting wine has amazing color and fruit that will jump out of the glass, with hints of plums and blueberries with some fudgy undertones. The wine is incredibly enjoyable today but will age a good 5-6 additional years. Make sure to grab one, since with only 275 cases made and it not being a Willowbrook staple who knows when you might see this treasure again.
Vineyard: Altes Vineyard, Rincon Valley
Appellation: Sonoma County
Fermentation: French Oak
Willowbrook started in 2001 as a dream of winemaker, Joe Otos, then 26 years old. This dream became reality after he teamed up with retired technology executives, John Tracy and Ed Sillari. Sillari and Tracy had recently moved to the wine country and had begun separately to explore opportunities to pursue their passion for wine. Sillari was involved in wine sales and Tracy had acquired a hilltop vineyard in Forestville. Their combined experiences were all the pieces needed to get Willowbrook Cellars started.
During the first few years production was limited to about 500 cases split between Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Willowbrook began to increase its production of vineyard designate wines; seeking out interesting small vineyards each with its own microclimate and flavor profile.
Willowbrook Cellars wines may be found in gourmet restaurants and in specialty wine stores, but because of the small case production, most of the sales have been generated by word of mouth.
Learn more at www.willowbrookcellars.com.