2012 Tempranillo

Appellation: Clements Hills

Vineyard: Lewis Ranch –The Vineyard lies at the very eastern edge of the Clement Hills AVA which is located within the SE corner of the Lodi appellation. The Vineyard is slightly higher in elevation and slopes down into the Mokelumne River. Clements Hills is characterized by rolling hills that emerge out of the San Juaquin Valley to form the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Clements Hills is distinguished by having different soils (loam and clay on top of granite and volcanic) with less vigor and is generally warmer with cooler nights and more rainfall than the West side of Lodi. The vines are approximately 15-20 years old and trellised. Lewis Ranch subscribes to the Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing.

Vintage: 2012 was an excellent growing year in Lodi & Clement Hills. In general conditions were almost ideal with a mild spring producing good fruit set. This was followed by a fairly long, warm summer with no rain and only one heat spike in September. Combined with a dry October this allowed grapes to ripen more gradually resulting in excellent quality throughout the region. Overall grape yields were normal to somewhat larger than normal.

Composition: 100% Tempranillo

Vinification: Grapes were hand sorted, de-stemmed and transferred to 1 ton open bins where it cold-soaked for about 48 hours before it underwent primary fermentation. The must was punched down by hand 2-3 times a day. The wine was aged, with minimal racking, in a mixture of mostly neutral French and American oak barrels for about 18 months.

Tasting Notes: Dark ruby in color with plum, blackberry and dried cherry aromas along with hints of oregano and tarragon. Black fruit and plum flavors on the palate with a bit of licorice, earthy notes and leathery overtones along with medium plus tannins, mild acidity and a full mouthfeel balance this wine with a lingering finish. Try with roasted meats, paella, Moroccan tajines, wild mushroom dishes chacuterie and sheep cheeses like manchego.