ValleyFogBlog


Waxing nostalgic as we release our 2016 Rosé and 2014 Pinot Noir, Mariah Vineyard by Jennifer

In honor of our Waits-Mast Family Cellars late spring release (the 2016 Waits-Mast Rosé of Pinot Noir and the 2014 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir, Mariah Vineyard), it’s a good time to reflect back on the early days of these wines.

The rosé is a mere babe, crafted from a blend of luscious pinot noir juices harvested last August and September from some of our favorite Mendocino County vineyards. Nash Mill Vineyard, Mariah Vineyard and Oppenlander Vineyard make up the blend, which is being released just in time for this week’s heat spell. We only made 20 cases of this wine, so enjoy it while you can.

2016 Waits-Mast Rose of Pinot Noir just off the bottling line, February, 2017. Photo: J. Waits

2016 Waits-Mast Rose of Pinot Noir just off the bottling line, February, 2017. Photo: J. Waits

Our other new release is the 2014 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir from Mariah Vineyard in Mendocino Ridge. It’s hard to believe that back in August, 2014, we were wandering through the vineyard rows with owner Dan Dooling while holding our 8 year old daughter. Three years later, there’s no way that we could physically stroll the vineyards carrying our soon-to-be middle schooler.

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Brian Mast holding daughter while visiting Mariah Vineyard with owner Dan Dooling in August, 2014. Photo: J. Waits

The Mariah fruit was harvested on September 8, 2014 and we were lucky to again have owner Dan Dooling deliver the fruit personally. It’s no small feat driving bins full of grapes from his remote hilltop on Mendocino Ridge all the way to congested San Francisco and Dan always does it with a smile.

Mariah Vineyard on September 5, 2014. Photo: J. Waits

Mariah Vineyard on September 5, 2014. Photo: J. Waits

While looking through photos from the delivery, I was struck by the changes on the Dogpatch block where our winery is located. Back in 2014, Graphic Sportswear, a screenprinting/custom T-shirt company was housed in the warehouse across the street and today the space is full of artist studios as part of the larger Minnesota Street Project, which opened two doors down from the winery in March, 2016.

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One of my favorite parts of the wine making process visually is the pressing. It can be quite dramatic to witness the deep red pinot noir juice rushing out of the press as it is squeezed out of the fermented grapes. Although difficult to capture in all its glory, every year I try to get photographic evidence of the beauty that I’m seeing with my eyes.

Pressing 2014 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir, Mariah Vineyard on October 1, 2014. Photo: J. Waits

Pressing 2014 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir, Mariah Vineyard on October 1, 2014. Photo: J. Waits

We pressed the 2014 Mariah on October 1, 2014 and from that point until bottling, the wine was sequestered away in French oak barrels. In a departure from recent vintages, we bottled our 2014 pinot noirs just about a year after harvest (we typically wait about 18 months to bottle) in August, 2015. Our daughter reluctantly joined in on the bottling line and if you are lucky, you may end up with a case box containing some of her artwork (hint: mustaches were all the rage in 2015).

Bottling 2014 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir. Photo: J. Waits

Bottling 2014 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir. Photo: J. Waits

You can read a bit more about 2014 harvest and 2016 harvest on this blog and head on over to our webstore to pick up all of our current releases.

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