The Porter Bass Estate sits just up in the hills that overlook the small town of Guerneville, CA (below the fog line, 9 miles from the Pacific Ocean). The vines struggle to ripen each year, providing the perfect environment to make balanced expressions of Coastal Russian River Valley wines. The property is 25 acres under vine (primarily planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with a 2 acre Zinfandel parcel named Dot’s Garden). The Estate dates back to the late 1800’s: planted to Zinfandel & Palomino (while the Palomino is long pulled up, some of the original Zinfandel vines still exist in Dot’s Garden).
Growing grapes and making wine is poco a poco, little by little. When a block of vines takes an extra few years to grow up the stake, it’s poco a poco. When each cluster of grapes is sorted by hand, it’s poco a poco. When the wine in barrel takes a month or two longer to finish fermentation, it’s poco a poco. We live in a time when most things can be made, ordered, and consumed in a matter of days. The beauty of winegrowing is that we must live poco a poco.
In the winemaking the human influence is limited as much as possible. When the grapes arrive at the winery they ferment with indigenous yeasts. This imparts a greater sense of place in the wine. In the red wines the fruit is not crushed, only the stems are removed, leaving the whole berries. This gives a slower start to the fermentation and results in a greater expression of freshness. As the wines age they gain complexity but do not suffer from the premature aging that comes with over-ripe fruit. Gentle handling of the wine, using gravity flow, and minimizing the use of machines in production helps to preserve the vitality of the wine. The amount of new oak is limited to less than 40 percent. The wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered.