2017 EL JALEO, Shake Ridge Ranch, Amador County
The first time you try something you’ve never done before, your imagination has to work pretty hard to clear the way forward. You might do a good job, maybe even really good. And, if the attempt is really successful, the amount you learned from the first attempt may be much more important than how satisfied you are with the result. The 2016 vintage of El Jaléo tastes really good; I was thrilled with how well it turned out. But I’m completely convinced that, given a few more years working with these wonderful grapes, it’s going to be exponentially more satisfying with each new vintage. Exhibit A: the 2017 El Jaléo!
FRUIT SOURCE: Shake Ridge Ranch is in the hills a few miles east of Sutter Creek, in Amador County. The vineyard was planted and is farmed by Ann Kraemer, a veteran of many years of vineyard management, including numerous Napa Valley sites. Shake Ridge vineyards vary in elevation between 1,500 feet and 1,800 feet above sea level. Vineyard blocks are noteworthy for the steepness of the slopes, the variety of soil-types, and, most importantly, the meticulousness of the farming.
WINEMAKING NOTES: Tempranillo and a portion of the Grenache were picked on September 6, with fairly low sugar, yet with excellent flavor maturity. On September 18ththe balance of the Grenache was picked, along with Mourvedre and Graciano. Fermentations all transpired in half-ton bins. The two pressings, both done at dryness, were barreled separately in old French barriques, each of which had held 17 prior vintages. Our blending of the lots was done in late November after malolactic was complete. The wine was racked out of barrels in late February. Final blend: 32% Mourvedre, 28% Grenache, 26% Graciano, and 14% Tempranillo. Bottled May 8th, 2018.
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: Lovely crimson red color. Very pretty nose, so nicely integrated that it seems nearly impossible to discern the identity of any of the component varieties; it’s spicy, fresh, beautifully expressive and wonderfully elegant! Fresh, supple, and vibrant on the palate, with luscious tannins. Altogether suave, from start to finish. In a year or two, this should be stunning. Alcohol 13%
Total Production: 256 cases 750ml, 20 cases magnums
Price: $32.00 per 750ml bottle, / $66.00 magnum
Release Date: September 1, 2018