Ferdinand Tempranillo Reserva NV
I've been making Tempranillo from Shake Ridge Ranch since 2011. It was the first site I found that got me really excited about the potential of New World Tempranillo. It reminded me of the hillside sites in Ribera del Duero. I was inspired to make a wine in that vein. In the years since, I made Tempranillo from several other sites but no other ever equaled it.
The earlier vintages were all fermented and extracted along the lines of the Napa Cabernet wines I was accustomed to. They were aged in french barrels with about 20% new oak and bottled after 18 months aging. The wines were good but a bit tight and tannic. As I've gained more experience with the wines and how they performed in the cellar I became convinced that they needed more time and really only showed their best after several years. I started pushing back the release date to give them more time in bottle. The most recent current vintage of 2016 was held back for a couple of years in bottle at release.
With that in mind I came up with the idea of "Reserva" style bottling. Not a traditional vintage Rioja reserva but inspired by the appelation rules of 2 years in barrel and 2-3 years in bottle. Pushing that concept further I decided to try a non-vintage blend of some experimental 2016 barrels that were held back for extra aging with the full production of the 2017 and 2018 vintages. Fundamentally that was about pushing vintage character to the background and to bring forward the essence of the site. The blend is roughly 10% 2016 and 45% ea. of 2017 and 2018. I think the wine has come out great and really proves the concept. I can't wait to see what this one will do in the cellar but I also feel it is actually ready to be opened and enjoyed now (on release). The wine was bottled May 2021. Average age 3+ years in barrel.
Located near the gold rush town of Sutter Creek, at an altitude around 1750’, this rocky vineyard is made up of ancient, red volcanic soils full of chunks of quartz. This ideal location balances easy ripening hot summer days and cool nights from the high elevation mimicking conditions in Spain's Ribera del Duero, the source of the vines' budwood.
- Variety: 95% Tempranillo and 5% Graciano
- Vineyard: Shake Ridge Vineyards
- Grower: Ann Kraemer
- Appellation: Amador County
- Elevation: 1750’
- Soils: Red volcanics with quartz, basalt, and shale
- Alcohol: 14.1%
- Farming: Family farming
Aging: Average age in barrel - 3+ years
Harvested: 2016, 2017, 2018
- Bottling Date: 5/21/2021
- Production: 300 cases bottled