“A Micro-Winery” located in Santa Rosa, California
Natural winemaking, organically dry-farmed, no additions or enzymes, not filtered, sulfites added only to legal minimum, no new oak, low alcohol
Winery: Never shy with their philosophy, they say, “No new oak was harmed in the making of thi wine. Unfined and unfiltered, because sterile wines have no soul.The purpose is not to make low-alcohol wine but is to make the most delicious wine possible.” Following a mutual passion for wine, Tobe and Dylan Sheldon traveled throughout thirteen countries, making wine in New Zealand and the south of France, getting married along the way. With a borrowed basket press in 2002 and a lot of foot stomping, they created their first 420 cases of Sheldon wine in 2003, now a Micro-Winery producing about 1,000 cases per year. Their goal is to strike a balance between sometimes austere European styling, and an overly fruity or barrel-heavy California style. Grapelive: “Sometimes winemaker Dylan Sheldon reminds me of a young Randall Grahm, where you think either this guy is either brilliant or has a screw loose.”
Winemaking: Proudly using “circa 1900 State of the Art technology,” they follow a truly minimal intervention winemaking approach. They closely monitor ripening grapes by using their noses and palates, rather than relying on lab equipment. Hand harvested and sorted, open-top
fermented, hand punched-down, gently basket pressed, the wine is aged in neutral French oak to allow the vineyard flavors rather than new oak to take center stage. The wines are racked according to lunar cycles to maximize gravitational lees compression before unfiltered and unfined bottling. To encourage harmonious fermentation, music is played in the winery for the wines in barrel. A splash-decant opens these bright, understated wines to reveal more of their personality, and their nearly super-human length in the finish.
Rose of Graciano and Tempranillo (50/50) Sonoma 2020 11.5% alcohol Summer Release Winemaker notes: “Styled like a Spanish Rosato, it is electric and crisp with delicious layers of floral, strawberry and cherries and zippy acidity.
Made with no oak at all using stainless steel tanks instead. 69 cases.
Graciano 2018, Luc’s Vineyard, Sonoma NoHerbicides/Pesticides 12.7% alcohol
94 Points, Grapelive (2015 Vintage): “This is fabulous stuff. A terrific unique wine.” This Rioja grape is the same as Trousseau, and is from only 13 Graciano acres in California. Harvested at 22 brix, stainless-fermented, aged in neutral oak, unfined, unfiltered. No new oak. 50 cases.
Grenache “Ceja Vineyard” 2019, Fountaingrove AVA, Sonoma Valley 12.9% alcohol 95 Points, Grapelive: “An incredible burst of crushed raspberry, pomegranate, strawberry and plum fruits on the supple palate with excellent fruit density, energy and silken tannins. The bouquet is intoxicating: a wildly exciting thrill of sweet florals, candied cherries and herbal elements, plus just the right amount of subtle savory notes.” Rocky soils, cool days, slow ripening and long hang-time. Whole-cluster cold- soaked to establish savory and spice elements, then destemmed to complete fermentation and aged in neutral oak. No new oak. 36 cases
Grenache “Luc’s Vineyard” 2019, Fountaingrove AVA, Sonoma Valley
12.9% alcohol New Release Winemaker Notes: “High-toned red fruit, plum, cherry, bergamot and sage aromatics. Palate possesses a touch of rich forest floor and iron in contrast to the floral tones and bright acidity. This wine is pretty tightly wound, with firm structure.” Hillside grown, hand-picked, whole-cluster cold-soaked to open savory and spice elements, then destemmed to complete fermentation and aged in neutral oak. No new oak. 25 cases!
Sangiovese 2019, Dry Creek, Sonoma County organically farmed 13.6% alcohol New Release 93 Points, Grapelive: “Stunning right out of the bottle. A nose of dark flowers and delicate spices, pretty red fruit layers with energetic Marion berry, fleshy plum, blood orange, earthy currant and sweet kirsch, classic acidity and accented by cigar wrapper, licorice, Asian spices and subtle cedar note.” Native yeast, gentle whole cluster fermentation, cool temperature maceration. No new oak. Organically Farmed. 36 cases
Petite Sirah Blend “Manus Lux Cuvée” 2019 Calistoga, Napa Valley
12.9% alcohol 94 Points, Grapelive: “Violets, cracked black pepper laced blackberries, plum, black currant. Raw and transparent, plenty of grip and structure and a refined textural quality.” Manus Lux (Light Hand) implies his hands-off winemaking. Organically dry farmed 85+ year old Calistoga Petite Sirah co-fermented with 5% Cab Sauvignon, 2.9% Graciano and .1% Frappato. Whole Cluster fermented,. No new oak. 50 cases.
Carignan 2018, Trimble Vineyard, Mendocino County / Hopland 13.3% alcohol
92 Points, Grapelive: “An exciting and expressive effort that is hard to resist. Zesty and vigorous with a touch of lilac, almost creamy with natural acidity and translucent quality. Layers of blackberry, currant, plum, tangy huckleberry/cranberry and black cherry fruits along with snappy/minty herb, crushed stones, cinnamon, lavender/sage, pepper and anise.” Organically farmed, head-pruned, dry-farmed old vines. No new oak. 36cases.