This past week, the cellar team transferred 600 barrels of wine, emptying 250 barrels of the great 2014 reds, and filling 350 more barrels with the newest vintage. Now the 2015 wines can begin their peaceful maturing in oak over the next 21 months. "It's a wonderful feeling to have all the wine safely in the right barrels," proclaims Roman Roth, winemaker.
Deciding which wines go into which barrels is one of Roman's most important decisions. Striking the perfect balance of new and older oak, as well as the choice between French and American oak, will elevate the inky reds with their bright fruit to the next level of excellence and elegance. UCD extension enologist Dr. Anita Oberholster discussed the impact of oak on wine composition and chemistry. “Barrel-aging improves the quality and finesse of wine, but you cannot turn an ordinary wine into an expensive wine just by exposing it to oak,” she said. Which is why Roman's and Richie's tagline is"Attention to Detail." From pruning in the winter to the minute the grapes appear on the vine, through to the laborious hand-sorting at harvest, to racking as cleanly as possible and handling the wines delicately, no detail goes down the cellar drain.
"This has been our fourth consecutive fantastic vintage," says Roman adding "but consistency is key." Ten rows of neatly stacked barrels line the cellar walls, their ends aligned to millimetric precision. Details, details, details, but its the accuracy that gives us the confidence that these wines are also on their way to wonderful rankings (like our Grapes of Roth Merlot by Wölffer Estate that made the list for top 100 best wines of 2015 by Wine Spectator).