Tales from the Past and a Taste of the Future
Reigning over 12th century England during the legends of Robin Hood, the era of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and the height of the Crusades was King Richard I. While he serves as a symbol of unparalleled bravery, Richard the Lion-Heart also had an affinity for wine, as it paired perfectly with the heat of battle. He liked wine so much in fact, that he gave sovereignty to the town of Saint-Émilion in Bordeaux on the promise that they would taste every barrel of wine before sending the best to his troops. And it was during this time that the Noble Red grapes were planted in Bordeaux: Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Carménère, and Cabernet Franc, the ancestor of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Flash forward several centuries. The descendants of those same grapes – the Noble Reds that filled the goblets of men dripping in chainmail and readied them for war on sinewy horses – are now rooted in the highland soil here at Yorkville Cellars. And just like Richard I’s comrades in Bordeaux, we taste each one after 21 months of aging, preparing them to meld into a bold Noble Red blend rightfully crowned as our “Richard the Lion-Heart.”
A handsome concoction of deep, vibrant berries, our Richard the Lion-Heart has been winning awards and recognition since we first released it back in 1995. And after all these years of careful creation – 23 to be exact – it’s become clear to us that this Noble Red blend is special because it goes beyond just our 23 years and stretches in both directions of time. Down to the very last molecule, the wine shares a bond with the Middle Ages, but it also has the power to connect us forward – a power you can literally taste in the Richard the Lion-Heart Futures.
Futures are a special tradition in winemaking, because they’re wines you purchase while they're aging in barrels before they’ve been bottled. And whether you’re acquiring futures to commemorate a special year, to collect a favorite wine at its very first opportunity and best price, or to invest in its coming value, futures are an amazing peek into a young vintage. At Yorkville Cellars, we offer futures of the Richard the Lion-Heart, our very own liquid time travel.
Join us on July 21st and 22nd for Anderson Valley’s 6th Annual Barrel Tasting Weekend. In our tasting room, we’ll be featuring barrels of the 2016 Richard the Lion-Heart future and its six Noble Red components. Come taste with us, experience the sensation of history in a glass, and be the first to acquire this remarkable vintage. Thoroughly modern pulled pork sliders and tri-tip sandwiches will enhance your experience!
For wine club members your tasting at Yorkville Cellars will be complimentary, but you can get your event tickets including seventeen other wineries: linked here.
Let's Define Organic
Organic (n.) - relating to or derived from living matter. Certainly a buzzword these days, organic evokes an innovative or trendy connotation. Yet, these basic techniques are actually a return to the traditions of the past. Founder, Edward Wallo, says, “This is not new, or rocket science. It’s merely winegrowing the way it was done for some 7,900 years before petrochemicals came into the picture.”
Yorkville Cellars has been a CCOF certified organic grower for 32 years and was among the first vineyards in the state to be certified. The goal of organic farming? Creating healthy, living soils that produce healthy vines and therefore healthy crops over time. There are a few main facets of this practice.
- Use only natural fertilizers - Ones that contain a spectrum of necessary nutrients rather than concentrated fertilizers, which supercharge certain nutrients more than others. Think about it this way… If you only ate three foods every day, what vitamins and minerals would you be missing?
- Avoid harmful chemicals - The basic truth is there are good bugs and bad bugs. Many commonly used pest controls also kill the good bugs - the ones that pollinate the crops, eat the bad bugs and contribute to the overall health of the vineyards. Farms that do use chemicals often do so to consistently grow the same crops each year on the same piece of land.
- Take care of the dirt - Not only does healthy soil yield vibrant, complex grapes, healthy soil is key to producing delectable vintages year after year. By planting cover crops like fava beans, winter peas, and oats after harvest, the soil’s nutrients are restored and prepared for the next growing season.
Bring in the Sheep
Growing organically and without herbicides, weed control is expensive, time-consuming, and challenging. That’s where these guys pictured up above come in. Uniquely qualified for the job, we love hosting the sheep for six months out of the year. Each winter, our neighbor Kevin (raised as a sheepherder in Wales), runs his sheep to our vineyards to munch on the tall early spring grass! We appreciate their free fertilizer and so do the vines. These "assistant winemakers" are a big part of organic farming.
With two main vineyards on the estate, each farmed organically, we are currently tending to 30 acres. Randle Hill Vineyard sits behind the tasting room and yields Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, while our Rennie Vineyard runs along Highways 128 in front of the tasting room and is planted to all six of the main red grapes originating in Bordeaux, France: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Carmenère, and Petit Verdot. These are otherwise called, “The Noble Reds.” Dating back to 1986, we’ve cultivated vineyards that yield incredible fruit; in large part, this stems directly from our farming practices. We are proud recipients of the prestigious “Masters of Organic” Award.
So the big question… Why does organic matter?
Aside from the sustainability component of organic farming, which is a driving factor in our decision to farm this way for many years now, the truth is in the wine itself. How exciting, how rewarding it is to taste a vintage that is not only flavorful, complex, and aromatic, but one that can only really be described as vibrant and alive.
Ready to put our word to the test? Stop by our tasting room any day between 11 AM - 6 PM. We’d love to talk more about what makes our vineyards and our wines noteworthy.