When We Embarked Upon This Journey
We made a conscious choice to produce a product of extremely high quality, that would develop its own passionate following who truly loved our wine. We do not want to depend on traditional fundraising efforts, and believe the love and passion for this project brilliantly shines through in what is bottled. To that end, we were fortunate to have a true friend and vinicultural visionaryjump headfirst into the role of winemaker at Little Wings – Ian Brand. Ian’s winemaking accolades are second to none; dramatically changing the perception of an often-forgotten region, demonstrating genuine passion for responsible farming and winemaking techniques, and being a steward of the fruit on the vine. Ian’s work has received considerable press in Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, several wine blogs, and most notably has been recognized in 2018 by the San Francisco Chronicle as Winemaker of the Year (not to mention, his famous beard has landed him some pretty sweet modeling gigs).
Little Wings fruit is organically farmed in California’s Chalone AVA on a beautiful, small, elevated parcel composed of loamy limestone that sees a lotof sunshine, but is kept extremely cool by the nearby Pacific Ocean. We don’tmess with the wines very much and produce something very authentic and classically styled as a result. While we do not try to create anything other than what the fruit gives us, our inspiration are the wines of Northern Rhone, leaning towards more feminine expressions of the grape. Each vintage presents seasonal variables, resulting in a unique wine from vintage to vintage that tells an authentic story which we do our best to preserve.
2018 Little Wings Syrah, Rodnick Farm, Chalone AVA (Fall 2020 Release)
Now we’re talking. 2018 is what Ian considers “an ideal and near-perfect growing season”. Temperatures were cool and steady throughout the year, and there was very little rain. We did not experience any heat spikes and succeeded in bringing in a gorgeous crop of fruit on August 31st. Sugars were low, berries were tiny, and flavors were fantastic. This will be fermentedabout 50% whole cluster, and should spend some time in used French Oak before being released in the Fall of 2020.
2018 Little Pink Moonbeams Rosé (Sold Out)
After putting our third red wine into production, we were thrilled when we had the opportunity to bottle a Rosé for 2019! Made from Grenache and Mourvédre grown in Spur Ranch's limestone-rich clays and Grenache and Cinsault from the granitic bluffs above the Arroyo Seco River, the wine sings with bright natural acidity, and incredible freshness. The wine was bottled in late 2018 and sold to our list in 2019
2017 Little Wings Syrah, Rodnick Farm, Chalone AVA (Fall 2019 Release)
In 2017, the famed Antle Vineyard changed hands and was purchased by theRodnick Family. The Rodnicks are known for their earth-focused farming practices, keeping irrigation to a minimum, and applying common biodynamic farming practices. We’re very excited by the vision they bring, and how well it jives with Ian’s beliefs and style. 2017 was a very warm vintage, marked by a heat spike as we approached harvest. Remember the fires in 2017? Luckily, our fruit came in before it could be affected by these fires, but the same conditions that caused the fires (dry, hot, windy, etc.) shine through in the wine. These conditions resulted in the ripest Little Wings vintage to date. Ian has done a wonderful job of bringing out the beautiful character of this wine, and I’m excited to seeeveryone’s response to it as I expect it will be one of the most crowd-pleasing vintages of Little Wings.The wine was blended with a dollop of really pretty Grenache prior to being bottled in April of 2019. It’s riper than our two previous vintages, but it tells an honest story of the vintage and is a truly bright wine. Alcohol is an even 14%, and 80 cases were produced. The wine will be made available in the late Fall of 2019.
2016 Little Wings Syrah, Antle Vineyard, Chalone AVA (Sold Out)
The 2016 vintage was what Ian refers to as “typical for the past 5 years in Salinas” – meaning it’s been warmer than usual, and it hasn’t really rained much.Ian was a bit creative with the 2016 vintage, deciding to harvest about half the crop a few weeks early and ferment it using carbonic maceration – a centuries-old technique designed to bring about low-alcohol, light, fruity, enjoyable wines. The remainder of the crop was harvested in mid-August, with the fruit more fully-ripened. Most of this fruit was fermented whole-cluster, and the two harvests aged independently for the better part of a year in used French oak barrels. The two lots were then blended and aged a further 6 months in those same barrels.The wine was bottled on March 20th, 2018 after a little over 18 months in barrel. The harvest produced 74 cases, with a nice, low, balanced 12% abv.The 2016 is a very approachable, classically-styled, fruit-driven wine that drinks more vibrantly than the 2015 and is very reminiscent of a femininely-styled wine from St. Joseph.
2015 Little Wings Syrah, Antle Vineyard, Chalone AVA (sold out)
In August 2015, we harvested just over one ton of Syrah from the Chalone AVA's Antle Vineyard, a cool-climate limestone vineyard with some nice elevation, overlooking Monterey Bay. The vineyard is organically farmed and masterly managed by Bill Brosseau.Half of the fruit went into fermentation whole cluster and the other half, whole berry. After a three-week maceration, the wine was pressed. It settled for a day and Ian moved it to a used French oak barrel (yes, just one-- and some went into a keg).Total production is 57 cases, and alcohol came in at 13.3%. The wine was racked before being bottled on February 14th, 2017 (Happy Valentine's Day!), after 17 months in barrel.
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