2012 Gardens of Babylon
This is our only blended red wine.
It is composed of Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon farmed by Steve Tenbrink in Suisun Valley, and Syrah, farmed by Lee Hudson in Carneros.
The wine is 40% each PS and CS, and 20% Syrah. There is a tiny bit of Bechtold Cinsault in it, left over from the 1MN blend. In 2012, we began co-fermenting as much of the fruit as possible. We harvested both the PS and the CS over a couple of days, about 5 days apart. We succeeded in keeping the PS (the first fruit that we harvested) inactive while we brought in the CS. Both of them went into our only large fermenter. We macerated them together for nearly a week, and then, once the fermentation started, we began long daily pumpers for nearly a month. We pumped the tank over so much that we were passing its whole volume over the skins several times per day. The result is a very deep, intense, complex wine— somehow still graceful and not over-extracted.
The syrah component is simply a fraction of the much fancier Androkteinos, added from complexity in general and the lighten the wine and push it into a somewhat more savory and feral zone. This wine is added as soon as possible post-fermentation to marry all of the components for the long possible period.
We matured the whole blend for 24 months in neutral 220 liter barrels, without topping or SO2 for the first year, and only one topping and SO2 addition in its whole life. We think that the slow constant exposure to oxygen, and simultaneous undisturbed resting on the lees, are essential to the development of the wine. The wine is bottled with 0 free SO2 and about 30 mg/L total.
A note on the name: the wine is based on Babylon—it is essentially a lighter, less serious take on the same wine. Thus it does not have the intensity of the original city, but is more like suburbs of that city. Thus, the Gardens of Babylon.
Total production about 350 cases.