Timbre is the “color” of musical sound. It’s how two voices express their individuality, even when singing the same note. We source fruit from some of the best vineyards in Santa Barbara County and across the Central Coast, but we don’t own any of those vineyards, so what differentiates our wines from others sourced from the same vineyard sites? There are, of course, many factors from picking decisions, to fermentation, to oak, when to rack, and when to bottle. There are also intangible, indescribable elements. Those choices and intangibles have a big impact on the expression of a vineyard source in a bottle of wine and, collectively, make up the TIMBRE, or voice, of our winemaking.
It is early morning and, driving the 101 up California’s coast, I am reminded of what inspired me to start a winery (way back in 2005) as a sommelier in Los Angeles. I worked at an amazing culinary hotspot but my professional life lacked the fulfillment that comes with trying for, and hopefully realizing one’s dream.
In an effort to supplement my passion for wine I started taking short trips to the Santa Barbara wine country. Those trips away from the lights and haze of LA were, literally, a breath of fresh air. There is nothing quite like seeing the morning light break the hills surrounding the Santa Ynez valley- the unbelievably vibrant colors in contrast to the concrete slab that is Los Angeles. The same can be said of an early morning drive on many parts of the 101. I like to leave before daybreak so I can watch the sun rise over the hills that border both sides of the road. The natural beauty of the Central Coast invigorates and re-inspires me every time I get in the car!
With my amazing family for support and my best friend and business partner Alex, every challenge in the winery is met with a commitment to the highest standards of quality. But starting a small winery is hard, and keeping it alive year after year is even harder. For me, the hardest part is being continually inspired. What is it that keeps me striving day after day? Part of that inspiration comes from early morning walks through the vineyard. That time when the dew still clings to the individual berries. The moment that you are in sync with the vines themselves. Inspiration lives in the instant that you know without doubt that the fruit has reached the apex of ripeness, still crisp with acidity, and it is time to harvest.
Inspiration makes an appearance when the fruit comes into the winery from the vineyard, heaped in ½ ton bins like treasure chests full of tiny jewels. As we fill fermenters, the smell of fresh juice bursting from the still cold berries. That first pump-over when you taste the liquid that will one day become an amazing bottle of wine. It makes an appearance when fermentation completes, that moment when you can taste the young wine and get a feel for its potential. You experience it many times as you taste the aging barrels, and then it lives in the finished bottles of wine. It is our hope that others can find inspiration in those bottles as well.
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