The region of the vineyard where we source the Marsanne and Roussanne is dominated by the typical red volcanic soils of Stagecoach, but what makes the area unique is its enormous quantities of flat rock, which provide exceptional drainage to the hillside blocks. The Atlas Peak Region has significantly less marine influence than the rest of the vineyard and has more shelter from the valley breezes, warming the region early in the morning and retaining the heat throughout the day making it the warmest growing region of Stagecoach Vineyard.
As many of you know, I love the whites of the Northern Rhône. Nothing makes my heart pound more than an amazing Condrieu, a St. Joseph Blanc, a Croze-Hermitage or the big one, the elusive one, the one that takes me to the Rhône Tain-l'Hermitage itself...that right, a Hermitage Blanc!
Yes, Guigal Ex Voto Blanc is amazing, and yes, a Chapoutier make the hairs on my arms stand, but for me, it's all about the magic of Chave Hermitage.
Its hard to put it in words why Chave is so magical, except that to me, it demonstrates how Marsanne and Roussanne grown in the right terrior, can make a wine, no more like an elixir, smell and taste as great as this wine does.
And so, it has been my goal for as long as I can remember, to one day make something that I felt best showed Marsanne and Roussanne. In 2016, all the stars aligned for me and we brought back Marsanne from the incredibly rocky soils of Stagecoach Vineyard. The last time we made this wine was in 2012, and trust me, this is a white that will for 20 years for sure.
To make 2016 vintage even better, I was able to bring in Roussanne also from the Stagecoach Vineyard. All that was left for me to do was believe that I could make magic happen.
I know Hermitage is Hermitage and I know the Mountains of Napa are the Mountains of Napa, but without a doubt, I feel this is one of the greatest examples of Marsanne that has been made in California.