Clarum, Latin for light, references the brightness and freshness of our 2019 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!
Viognier for the Clarum white wine came from our Lazy M ranch in the Petaluma Gap. This vineyard is an extremely low-yielding, dry-farmed, own-rooted vineyard head trained in the cool Petaluma Gap. The vineyard is predominately Clay loams which retain good soil moisture, but towards the middle of the season, the vines come under severe stress limiting their yields for highly concentrated fruit. We have also pushed the roots extremely deep by dry-farming to avoid phylloxera and retain their roots without grafting. The cool fog and winds prevalent in the Petaluma Gap extend the ripening season; all of these factors produce late-ripening fruit at low sugars with intense purity and flavor.
The grapes are picked at first light and bought to the winery where it is destemmed, and then 80% goes to be pressed as juice and then into amphoras for fermentation, and the other 20% goes to amphoras as berries for fermentation on skins. The amphoras are fantastic fermentation vessels, supporting our low intervention vineyard approach. The amphoras have no temperature control, and fermentation begins naturally and peaks at about 75F. The berries are punched down twice a day, and after two weeks, we press the juice off the berries and then put the juice back into the amphoras for a further six months of aging. The juice takes about a month to ferment, and after that, we rack it off the solids and put it back into amphoras for another six months of aging. After aging in amphoras, the best amphoras are blended and put in barrels for 9months until bottling. Minimal sulfur is used, and no fining. We filter the wine immediately before bottling for clarity.