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Markham Terroir

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Red wines are made by fermenting the grapes on their skins thereby extracting all the good stuff in the entire berry. Not only are tannin and ultimately color pulled from the skins, but hints of where the grapes are grown become lavishly layered into the wine. The French call it terroir, a sense of place, and Cabernet Sauvignon is the best example for showcasing it. With our estate-bottled Cabernets, the terroir is so overpowering that I can’t help but try to get as much as I can into every drop of wine.  With the fantastic fruit quality in this vintage, I have allowed many of my fermenters to languish on their skins in what is referred to as extended maceration. I would normally press a fermenter full of Merlot at 10-12 days on the skins to preserve the lush fruit character inherent to the varietal. However if I push past the fruity berry aromas and youthful tannins, I can create a wine with velvety mouthfeel, containing every last taste from the place where it was originally grown. Today our last Calistoga estate Cabernet tanks are being lovingly pressed after 40 days on the skins! I can taste not only the rich berry fruit, but the violets, licorice and wild Bay Laurel that surround the narrow canyon where the grapes were grown. True beauty!

- Winemaker Kimberlee Nicholls

Everyone in the Vat!

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And just like that it’s over! It has been a furiously fast paced harvest here at Markham Vineyards - see some of my favorite moments above. The main four varietals that we make all collided here at the winery during the same four week period. Sauvignon Blanc, which has seen several years of lack-luster yields, sported a healthy crop and thus arrived late. The tiny berries on our Merlot meant another early vintage and eventual competition for time in the press. As our late to arrive Chardonnay enjoyed the last days of summer and is finally perking away in barrels. I did mention more than once that I would not sample the Cabernet until we were ready to receive it. Sure enough, the Cabernet was ready the minute it was sampled and we were not! Alas things have a way of working out and the end is in sight. This vintage has blessed us with a bounty of tropical Sauvignon Blanc, rich Chardonnay, lushly tannic Merlot and classic Cabernet that my crew and I will be proud to show you all soon!

-Winemaker Kimberlee Nicholls

Laboring on Labor Day - And Loving It!

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Labor Day is not a holiday that normally gets observed in the wine industry, unless you count working as the true celebration.  After three consecutive Labor Day holidays off (2010, 2011 & 2012) here at Markham, we were all happy to spend it together doing what we love. We’re crushing it now, thankful for the amazing quality with which the 2013 vintage is providing. Team work is #1 during harvest, with an ‘in it to win it’ philosophy. My hope is that you can taste that in each glass of Markham wine because my team truly aims to please. It is that team collaboration that keeps us strong and excited to make each vintage better than the last…cheers to that!

-Winemaker Kimberlee Nicholls

Harvest 2013 is Well Underway!

Time for a quick toast as our first Chardonnay grapes arrived on Friday - then back to work. It's looking like a great harvest!

 

kim tilt juice crew

The Bets Are on the Calendar for the First Day of Harvest!

GrapesamplingsbsamplingUntil now, harvest had been speeding towards us, causing a frenetic pace to finish our Chardonnay bottling, make room in the barrel cellars, prep all the new barrels, order supplies and clean all the tanks. But the cooler weather in early August has allowed us all to breathe a sigh of relief as the ripening slows. Where all of us predicted an early harvest, it now appears that perhaps a normal start is at hand. And why is it that they never learn that I get to decide when to pick the grapes? Makes it hard for me to lose the bet!

- Winemaker Kimberlee Nicholls