2014 La Severità di Bruto Farina Vineyard
This wine is composed of 100% Sauvignon Blanc from the rocky top of the superb Farina Vineyard on Sonoma Mountain. The vineyard is exclusively east-facing and descends from about 1100 feet of altitude to 800 feet. The fruit for La Severità di Bruto comes only from the light, rocky soil at the top of the vineyard. This section of the vineyard has the best drainage and the least access to ground water; the vines struggle here and produce clusters that are very small, with tiny berries, explosive with flavor and very high acidity. The combination of eastern aspect and long-lasting morning fog guarantees high acidity; the sparse, dry soil guarantees the intensity.
The wine is made in the same way every year. 2014 was the third year of our current drought and this allowed us to harvest fruit earlier, with lower potential alcohol, than we had in some of the early vintages— 14.4% instead of the 15-16% we often hit in prior years. It is very interesting to us that we harvested pretty early in September, with very high acidity, and still had such high alcohol—we had expected about a point less. The wine is subtle; powerful, but totally in balance, with excellent and persistent acid structure.
We bring the fruit in and place it directly in the press without destemming. We foot tread lightly in the press and then press very lightly with a maximum yield of 132 gallons per ton. We protect the juice immediately with both SO2 and dry ice, and try absolutely to minimize the effect of oxygen, and to inhibit the onset of malo-lactic fermentation. We ferment and age in neutral 220 liter barrels; mostly used oak, but 2-4 stainless barrels, depending on what else is going on in the winery. Fermentation typically takes about a year— and in 2014, the barrels only became dry late in the Summer. We bottled in September, after about a year in barrel.
A note on the origin of the name: the wine is named for a phrase in Macchiavelli’s Discourses on Livy. The word “severità” means not just to severity but discipline. The first year that we made the wine, it tasted like nothing that we had ever made before—higher acid, with very intense and even severe structure. In a certain sense, the most serious thing we had done to-date.
Total production about 120 cases.