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The DIRT on AP - a winery blog

Ancient Peaks
 
November 21, 2014 | Ancient Peaks

"Painting" the 2012 Zinfandel

We often talk about the diverse soils and complex geography of our estate Margarita Vineyard, which spans a variety of different slopes, aspects and elevations. 

If you’re inclined to ask, “Why does it matter?”, we’ll forgive you—and then pour you a glass of our 2012 Zinfandel, which is a perfect example of why it matters.

As Director of Winemaking Mike Sinor explains in the short video above, the 2012 Zinfandel is a blend of three separate blocks grown in three distinct soil types at Margarita Vineyard.

Fruit from the volcanic soils of Block 32 brings a core of varietal spiciness to the wine, while a contribution from the shale soils of Block 49 adds a layer of dark, ripe fruit. Lastly, the cooler climes and alluvial soils of Block 39 bring enhanced structure and backbone.  

The nuance doesn’t end there. As Mike explains, he and Winemaker Stewart Cameron target specific subsections, which you might call “blocks within blocks.” So from Block 32, they choose fruit from the middle of the block, which they call the tenderloin. In Block 49, they focus on the elevated crown of the block. In other words, a slight change in aspect or elevation can be the difference between good and great.

The result is that Mike and Stewart have what they call “different colors to paint with” when assembling the final blend. It allows them to craft an estate-grown wine that naturally exhibits fullness and complexity, qualities that you can taste in our 2012 Zinfandel. 

Ancient Peaks
 
November 11, 2014 | Ancient Peaks

Superhero Soars over Ancient Peaks

You could say that a superhero flew over our estate Margarita Vineyard yesterday…

Indeed, Stephen Amell, star of the hit superhero show Arrow on the CW network, came out to Santa Margarita Ranch on Sunday for a zipline tour with our affiliated Margarita Adventures, followed by a tasting of our wines. 

Stephen and his friend Andrew Harding were in the Paso Robles wine country working on a new pilot show project focusing on the wine experience. Stephen and Andrew are also partners in their own wine label, Nocking Point Wines.

After they zipped over our Pinot Noir block on the Pinot Express zipline, Ancient Peaks co-owner Karl Wittstrom treated them to a tasting of Ancient Peaks wines. Pictured above are (left to right) Andrew, Karl and Stephen enjoying our 2012 Renegade red blend. 

Thanks to Stephen, Andrew, producer Alan Miller and his crew for turning their spotlight on the Paso Robles wine country. The pilot show featuring Margarita Adventures and Ancient Peaks Winery is set to air this winter, stay tuned for details.

Time Posted: Nov 11, 2014 at 11:50 AM
Ancient Peaks
 
November 6, 2014 | Ancient Peaks

Introducing Santa Margarita Ranch AVA

We earlier shared the news about the establishment of the Santa Margarita Ranch AVA as one of 11 new sub-appellations of the umbrella Paso Robles AVA.

Now we're going to dig a little deeper into the distinguishing characteristics of the Santa Margarita Ranch AVA, including the rare diversity of soil types pictured below. 

The Santa Margarita Ranch AVA is situated along the foot of the coastal Santa Lucia Mountain Range, roughly 25 miles southeast of the city of Paso Robles and just 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean to the west. Our estate Margarita Vineyard now enjoys the rare distinction of being the only vineyard located within its own namesake AVA

Below are highlights of the growing conditions found in the Santa Margarita Ranch AVA. All quotes are from the adopted Santa Margarita Ranch AVA petition:

  • The Santa Margarita Ranch viticultural area “is distinctive from that of other areas of the Paso Robles AVA, in terms of topography, geology, geological history, soils, and climate.”
     
  • Santa Margarita Ranch is one of the coolest sub-appellations within the Paso Robles AVA, making it “very much a true, cool Region II climate.” The maritime influence increases “to the west towards the Pacific Ocean and below specific topographic gaps in the range.”
     
  • Santa Margarita Ranch is also marked by an unusual diversity of soils, due largely to an array of active fault lines along the coastal ridge: “The surficial geology here is also different than in other parts of the Paso Robles AVA…with an extensive area of the Miocene age Santa Margarita marine sandstone interfacing with the Monterey shales, granitic rocks to the east, and ‘slices’ (due to faulting) of the older Cretaceous marine sedimentary rocks and conglomerates to the west.”
     
  • Of the 11 sub-appellations within the Paso Robles AVA, Santa Margarita Ranch receives among the highest amount of rainfall—29 inches per year on average “as Pacific storms dump their water across the steep, high mountain ridge.”

These distinctive growing conditions impart a pronounced sense of place in our wines. Paso Robles is our home, and we will always lead with the Paso Robles message on our labels and elsewhere. But the establishment of the Santa Margarita Ranch AVA allows us to drill down more clearly into what makes our location distinctive, and why it matters to our wines. 

Time Posted: Nov 6, 2014 at 11:59 AM
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