Famed Santa Ynez winery Rusack Vineyards are debuting the first release of wine from their new vineyard on Catalina Island. Their limited production of a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel are available at their winery in the Santa Ynez Valley and through their wine club, Isla Wine Circle.
Descriptions of the three wines from the CatalinaIslandVineyards.com website:
Our small one-acre block of this varietal on Santa Catalina Island has produced an elegant, softer style of wine – not your typical Zinfandel. After facing challenges ranging from a plague of crickets to strange nodules we discovered were “adventitious roots,” we were excited (and relieved) to see our second bud break arrive on schedule in late February 2009, which was to be our first vintage year. Because Zinfandel seems to display its most widely recognized characteristics by being grown in warmer climates, we located it on the warmest southern exposed slope. Hand sorting of clusters ensures that only the best make it to processing. The grapes are then fermented in 3/4 ton containers, pressed to barrels and aged in American and French oak for 15 months. The resulting wine is unique, showing characteristics of black pepper, with berry aromas and flavors. 62 cases produced.
A great varietal selection for the island climate, this Chardonnay exhibits old world characteristics of caramel and mineral notes, along with California flavors of citrus and apple, with well-balanced acidity. Fermented and aged in French oak barrels for 11 months, the wine went through partial malolactic fermentation and received minimal winemaking intrusion to showcase the true distinctiveness of fruit from this Santa Catalina Island climate. 265 cases produced.
Another varietal well suited for the cool climate and clay loam soils of Santa Catalina Island, this wine is a blend of French clones planted in three small blocks. Each has its own microclimate due to row orientation and specific location at El Rancho Escondido. The wine is fermented in small 3/4 ton containers and gently transferred to French oak barrels, where it undergoes malolactic fermentation and aging for 12 months. Exhibiting distinct aromas and flavors of tobacco, along with earthy notes and a hint of cherry and raspberry, it is truly unique and beautifully balanced. True to the varietal, this offering is very delicate, yet age worthy. 127 cases produced.
For more information or to join the Isla Wine Circle, visit the Rusack Santa Catalina Island Vineyards website here: http://www.catalinaislandvineyards.com/