Learn, discuss, and share lessons in Viticulture and Enology experienced from the people behind Larner Vineyard & Winery, located in Ballard Canyon AVA - Santa Barbara's Wine Country's Syrah territory.
n. Among the most beautiful of all Protozoa, they produce intricate mineral skeletons often of perfect geometric form and symmetry. Dating back to the Cambrian Period (500 million years ago) their abundance in many rocks, their long geologic history, and their diversity through time make them important sources of information on the geologic age and structure of many deposits.
The Radiolarian’s presence is an integral part of the geologic calendar, stamping time with its formation and genesis. This is akin to any given wine, an agricultural snapshot of a given vintage, its origins rooted to the territory and Mother Nature. The 2014 vintage proved to be a challenging year as the third in a row defined by drought, but the vines were better prepared and the consistent heat throughout produced grapes that ripened exquisitely, even if 30 days earlier than usual.
The key to making distinct quality wine is what lies beneath, the construction and content of the soil. Larner Vineyard’s bedrock includes chert (a deep marine sedimentary rock) comprised of radiolarian. This unique soil aspect is part of the foundation of our territory driven wines. Like the Radiolaria, our estate produces intricate wines with symmetry and perfect geometry on the palate. The soil ensures that the wines are concentrated and complex, coupled with the drier vintage that promoted full phenological ripeness.
Given this unusually dry vintage, bolstered with uncharacteristic consistent heat, and an estate vineyard with a complex and low vigor soil base the end result is a focused production from a vintage that is unparalleled and distinct. The wines of 2014 will surpass the longevity of classic vintages like 2009 and 2010, render more mouth feel than vintages like 2011 and 2012, and be better balanced than wines from the other significant drought year, 2013. But that is not to say that you will enjoy one more than the other, they are all pages of our own geologic calendar.
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