What: 2018 CaryQ GSM Blend
Where: Shake Ridge Ranch, Amador County
Who: Cary Quintana is a Miami native of Cuban descent who ran a wine shop for several years before deciding to head West and try her hand at winemaking. She launched her first vintage in 2014, and is now based at an urban crush facility in Berkeley.
Why: Not only is this highly committed winemaker is one to watch, but the site is special. In less than two decades, Ann Kraemer’s Shake Ridge Ranch in the Sierra Foothills has earned a cult following, offering fruit prized by such winemakers as Helen Keplinger, Angela Osborne, and Steve Edmunds. Says Cary:
“What drew me to this place was the fact that it is an extremely thoughtfully curated and organically farmed vineyard made up of 43 acres of very distinct parcels that were designed to best grow each hand selected varietals than Ann Kraemer planted. All the Shake Ridge’s vineyard blocks are noteworthy for their steepness and elevation, as well as the variety of soils. The days are very warm, yet with high elevations we get a nice nighttime cooling effect with temperatures that drop into the low 50’s.
I am a minimalist at heart, pretty hands-on and of the philosophy that it all begins in the vineyard. I am of the mind-set of low intervention which encourages true expression and vibrancy I look for. My wines are cofermented, go through ambient fermentation, are unfined and unfiltered and gently racked before bottling.
Harvest arrived for us mid-September 2018 during a beautiful harvest moon, making this the second vintage in a row that we were graced with this beautiful sight during our traditional 4 a.m. harvest. The full moon guided harvest that year lighting the vineyard, and the cool night kept the fruit pristine as we made our journey back to the winery in Berkeley.
The 2018 vintage was cofermented, saw some whole-cluster Mourvedre and was aged in neutral French oak puncheons for 14 months, which rounded off its edges.