Let's step back into the ring to square off with a Nebbiolo that has truly gone the distance.
Alright, we've been keeping a big secret from you. A secret that goes all the way back to 2015, the year after we first opened our garage door. When we picked this Nebbiolo, we weren't even sure if we'd survive long enough to witness its release. See back in 2015, we were still just this weird little winery, dismissed by our neighbors for daring to make something other than Cab. An underdog. But then you joined our corner, we took on the world, and we're still here fighting. And this one was worth it.
Producing a classic Nebbiolo is not for the lazy or impatient. This Italian grape comes from the region of Piedmont and is notoriously fussy, with early flowering and unpredictable ripening. But if grown right, it's one of the most terroir-expressive grapes on the planet. Our Nebbiolo comes from a family-owned vineyard in El Dorado County. Portions of this vineyard date back to the 1800s and their experience growing Nebbiolo is some of the best in California.
There's a lot to love about Nebbiolo, like its tarry-cherry flavors and brick-amber color. But one of the big obstacles to making a delicious wine from this variety is taming the extreme tannins. That's why barrel aging is so important and why we see such long aging lengths with "Riserva" Nebbiolo from Italy. While many of our reds are in barrel for 6-24 months, we kept this wine in barrel for 60 months. That's right, HALF A DECADE. For this, we used old oak "Puncheon" barrels that are about twice the size of the normal barrels. This style of marathon aging mellows the tannins and deprives the wine of oxygen, which Nebbiolo responds well to.
Like we mentioned earlier, this is not an endeavor for the impatient and luckily, we had Bertus slowly and surely guiding this wine along for 5 years. Watching (well, tasting) this wine grow up has been both fascinating and rewarding and we were prepared to wait as long as necessary for this wine to become the best version of itself. And last year, it finally did!
Our patience was definitely rewarded. The Distance is the classic Italian-style Nebbiolo we always wanted to make. It's got that beautiful warm, amber color and the deep cherry flavors that pair so well with food. But we really dig its complexity. With floral aromas of roses and perfume, juicy flavors of dark cherry, raspberries, leather, and molasses, there's a lot going on. Those once aggressive tannins are now smooth, integrated, and complementary and the finish swings until the final bell. It's a beautiful wine.
For some reason, we drew parallels with making this wine to old-time wrestling. With long, drawn-out bouts lasting 20, sometimes 30, rounds, we thought it was an apt metaphor to pummeling the tannins into submission and taking this thing the distance.
With only 55 cases of this 100% Nebbiolo produced, this wine definitely won't last as long. So if you want to taste it yourself, please do not wait for the final bell.