Written by guest blogger, Jeff Loomis of Loomis Family Vineyards.
SOMETIMES THE BEST IDEAS ARE A LITTLE BIT CRAZY.
I confess. I’m insane. But it’s a good kind of insanity. At least I like to think so. I love to create and push boundaries. Do things that haven’t been done before. Like Rhône varietals. In Napa Valley the heart of Cab country. In the middle of an oak forest. At high elevation. Nobody says Napa Mountain. All on one estate. But that was my vision behind Loomis Family Vineyards as I walked the raw land back in 2000. Then for many years I exercised patience (not my strong suit), trusted my gut (my strong suit) and hoped like hell. And guess what? It worked.
We treated four carefully selected acres like children. Nurturing their success and picking them up from failure. We maximized exposure, elevation, microclimates, varietal-specific soil conditions and terroir to plant these blocks on my hidden 135-acre Napa ranch. As time passed, the blocks of Rhône varietals came to life on steeply sloped hillsides overlooking green valleys, forests of native oaks, a herd of Black Angus cows, horses, 3 sheep named Morimoto, Ramsey and Keller, chickens and the pre-requisite black swan named Zelda (RIP 2014, F Scott RIP 2011). Loomis Family Vineyards was born.
WE SET OUT TO MAKE ONE GREAT RED WINE.
Our first harvest yielded young fruit – not really mature enough for a great red wine. So we improvised – “let’s make a Rosé for ourselves – think Domaine Tempier”. Did I mention I’m insane? So we used our entire first harvest to make Rosé for ourselves. Picked at the right time for acidity. Pressed for that gorgeous color that transports you to Provence. And aged – yep aged – for 6 months in neutral French Oak.
Most of you are saying WTF right now, but hold tight. We bottled the wine. A couple weeks later a friend told me I should enter the wine – which I named “Air”, in the SF Chronicle Rosé tasting contest. Of course I said – “WTF – it’s our first wine, it’s in bottle shock, young fruit, first wine”. He replied “Why do you care?” And of course I responded “WTF – you are right”. So I sent off the samples and prepared to get slammed in the press.
The panel tasted 174 wines. They picked their favorite 20. “Air” was one of the 20 they loved and reviewed. Sometimes the best ideas are a little crazy.