Planted in 1999 and farmed organically from the outset, Skid Row Vineyard is the westernmost block on the Saracina Ranch, marked by black clay and gravelly soils at the base of the foothills. The plant material is the original Bordeaux clone 4. It is significant not for what it produces, but for what it doesn’t. It is the lowest- yielding commercial Malbec clone available, and on our property typical yields are one and a half tons per acre. It produces concentrated fruit without the need to pick at ultra-high sugars. The vineyard was named “Skid Row” for the tracks carved into the surrounding hillsides in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by donkeys dragging logs down to the vineyard site, where they were collected to fire the furnaces in the hop barn to toast hops for sale to breweries.
The harvest of 2014 was a winemaker's dream, with adequate early rainfall, and a long and even growing season, a great year for clay soil. We harvested at dawn on September 16, with an average of 24.5 brix. The grapes were harvested by hand, destemmed and gently fed into the fermenter with 50% whole berries. Native yeast fermentation began eight days later and was managed with two aerative pumpovers per day until dryness. The wine was drained directly into Taransaud barrels, 25% of which were new. Native malolactic fermentation was complete by early January. The wine rested on light lees for 18 months and was then lightly fined and bottled unfiltered on June 23, 2016.
Black garnet in color, this wine reveals notes of violets, blueberries, and a subtle mineral component. Built from our low-yielding vines, the palate shows a natural concentration and balance, with soft tannins and acidity to keep it supple and sunny.
Food Pairing Notes
Pair this wine with burgers or chili or a steak cooked over a wood fire with a side of chimichurri sauce.
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