Clarum, Latin for light, references the brightness and freshness of our 2018 Viognier but also references the clarity of site and expression in this wine. We ferment and age this wine using terra cotta pots (also known as amphorae), which is an ancient winemaking method dating back nearly 6,000 years!
Our Clarum, made in Amphorae, is a white wine made from grapes grown on our premier estate vineyard sites within the Petaluma Gap and Carneros AVAs. In 2018, the Viognier at Catapult Vineyard was extraordinary and we knew we were going to make something incredibly special. The soil is predominately deep clay on the southwest-facing slopes at Catapult. The result is that the clay pushes the vines to develop deep root systems and provides moisture throughout the entire season. These conditions are ideal for slow, even ripening in the face of the cool climates of the Petaluma Gap. The 2018 vintage was characterized by good winter rain, an early bud break and moderate summer temperatures. This led to extended hang time and even ripening towards the end of the growing season, bringing a beautiful clarity of flavor in the wine.
The grapes were handpicked at first light to retain freshness. They were then gently destemmed and 20% was transferred directly to the amphorae on their skins. The balance was pressed and transferred as juice to amphorae. The juice and skins were allowed to ferment naturally, with no intervention. After two weeks the wine was pressed off the skins and the juice was racked to separate vessels for sensory evaluation. The finest lots were then selected for an additional 6 months of aging in amphorae. The wine saw minimal SO2. The final blend was then tasted and scrutinized several times before bottling.