What began as an early warm vintage abruptly changed direction with a record setting heat wave over the Labor Day weekend of 2017. Normally this causes sugars to jump; strangely the vines shut down, and sugar accumulation ceased for two weeks. This extended hang time allowed acids to soften, and despite the winery's fears, eventually sugars began to rise. This wine is a blend of three vineyards: 52% from Handley Estate Vineyard, 24% from RSM Estate Vineyard, and 24% from Helluva Vineyard. The resulting wine is more lightly structured than the extracted 2016 vintage and more red fruit driven. Aromas of cola, violets, candy cap mushrooms, and clove. Flavors of red cherries, cranberries, hibiscus, and root beer, with hints of cinnamon and cardamom spices. Long and plush finish with soft tannins and balanced acidity. Aged for 10 months in all French Oak barrels (25% new).
Handley Cellars is a small family-owned winery in California's Mendocino County. Bonded in 1982, they produce around 12,000 cases of wine a year. Their quality starts with the Estate Vineyards in Anderson Valley. Ten miles from the Pacific coast, cool foggy nights and bright sunny days characterize the Handley Estate Vineyard in Anderson Valley's "Deep End." One of California's coolest grape growing regions, the climate of Anderson Valley is ideal for the 13.4 acres of Pinot Noir, 12.2 acres of Chardonnay, and 3.2 acres of Gew?rztraminer planted. They farm responsibly, using organic methods and avoiding chemicals whenever possible. They work to encourage healthy, living soils, which in turn support the grapevines and yield flavorful fruit that shows varietal character and regional attributes.