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Paloma Vineyard

Paloma Vineyard In the late 1970s, we started to visit the Napa Valley frequently and fell in love with the area and its people. We have always had an interest in wine, both in its making and its consumption, in food and gardening. In 1980, we were living in Midland, Texas, and began thinking about a second home; we decided to start looking for a small property in the Napa Valley were we could build a home and plant a small vineyard. This dream was realized in 1983 when a friend of ours, Dan Duckhorn, called and told us about the property we now call Paloma Vineyard. The property is located five miles west of St. Helena at the top of Spring Mountain. In the last half of the 19th century it was a vineyard, but was allowed to return forest about the turn of the century. We still find old redwood grape stakes and even a few old zinfandel vines that survive under the large Douglas fir trees that surround our home. One vine near the house produces one or two clusters of grapes a year that are put into our Merlot blend for good luck. The purchase of this raw land was the beginning of an odyssey that is ongoing, ever changing, but with one goal to grow the best grapes possible and make our wine that reflects the terroir of our vineyard. For those interested in such things: the elevation of Paloma Vineyard is 2060 feet above sea level at the bottom of our property and 2240 at the top, exposure is generally east with many variations, and the soils are derived from the Sonoma volcanics and from Franciscan sandstone. Total acreage is 20 acres with 15 acres planted.


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Address Web Social
4013 Spring Mountain Road, St. Helena, CA, US, 94574 Email:
Phone: 707-963-7504 Web:
Fax: 707-963-7504
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Our Merlot is a blend of Estate Merlot and Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. The percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon ranges from 12 to 18 percent depending on the vintage. The grapes for this wine are picked in very small amounts as each area of the vineyard reaches its peak of ripeness. The grapes are then de-stemmed and the individual berries cracked open by our 20-year-old Healdsburg stemmer/crusher (with the crusher rollers removed) and fermented in small open top fermenters or small stainless steel tanks. After fermentation the pomace is gently pressed in an old fashioned basket press and each pick is put into a stainless steel tank to settle off the gross lees. The wine then goes into our new or used French oak barrels for 19 months of barrel aging. The resulting wine is a big, world-class red wine capable of improving with bottle aging for 10 to 15 years in most vintages. Although the wine varies with the vintage, they have a consistent thread of complex aromas of black berry fruits, black stone fruits, chocolate, tobacco, spice and floral notes with a mineral overtone. On the palate the wine has a big silky mouth feel, well balanced, with flavors of berries, fruit, cocoa, cassis, and spice, and a long spicy finish. Fruit tannins in our wines tend to be big, but not harsh and are well integrated with the strong fruit component.
In 1994, we cleared a small area of trees that were shading our favorite block of Merlot. We decided to plant a block of Syrah to see how it would do up here and to make wine for our own consumption. In 1996, we started making the wine commercially and now produce 100 to 125 cases per year. Our wine is 100 percent Estate Syrah and is produced by the same methods as our Merlot, except that we do not use new oak in our barrel aging. The wine goes into one of our two-year-old French oak barrels for 15 months of barrel aging. The wine tends to show aromas of berries, black pepper (very strong in cooler vintages), sage, spice, burnt orange with hints of forest floor in some vintages. On the palate flavors of spice, pepper and berries are followed by a long spicy finish.


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