2014 Golgotha Hudson Vineyards
This wine is composed of 100% Syrah from the Widowmaker block of Lee Hudson’s Henry Road vineyards in the Carneros of Napa. The vines were planted in the early 2000s in the deep, rich, loamy bottomland of the Huichica creek. We began working with this vineyard in 2007; for us, from the beginning one of the keys was making the wine 100% whole cluster, with no destemming.
In 2010, for the first time, I realized that the vigor of the vines changed subtly but decisively about 4/5 of the way down the rows. Before harvest, I started paying strict attention to the way that the fruit tasted and the way it was ripening. As harvest drew close, I determined a reasonable break point between the more and less vigorous and vines and decided to harvest them separately. We found that as you walked north along the rows, the last 14 plants or so in each row produced fruit that was absolutely distinct in character. I looked at a soil map and discovered that there was very slight change in slope— the less vigorous vines were a foot or two higher than the more vigorous ones, and they drained down into the more vigorous zone. But even more— there was a lens or rocks a foot or two under the soil i the higher section. There was tiny but decisive hill of stones at the end of the rows. Golgotha is made from the ton or so that we made from this hill.
2014 was the third year of the drought and produced fruit of absolutely optimum ripeness and concentration, without a trace of over-ripeness. The drought has the most remarkable effect on everything to do with ripeness: this wine is very intense and concentrated, but is only at 13.86% alcohol.
The winemaking is typical for our red wines: We bring the fruit in, introduce it gradually into 600 liter puncheons turned vertical, with their heads removed. We stomp the fruit moderately as it goes in, with the effect of breaking about half of the berries but leaving the rest intact and on the stems. Then we leave it alone. In a week or so, fermentation starts and a cap forms. Still we leave it alone. We call this the Courier Protocol— an extended floating cap fermentation with a minimum of punchdowns and no pump-overs. After about 3 weeks of fermentation, we drain the wine away, press the remaining pomace very gently, and age the wines for two years in 110 and 220 liter neutral oak barrels.
The wine usually ages without SO2 and is bottled with 0 free and about 40 mg/L total.
A note on the name: Androkteinos means “Slayer of Men.” This is a step up. Golgotha = “Hill of Skulls.”
Total production: about 25 cases.