2015 Redtail

For Redtail’s inaugural year we decided to craft a classic blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre.  The miniscule 2015 vintage was all about elegance and aromatics, lending itself perfectly to this time-honored composition.  The components form a seamless harmony with Syrah bringing in stewed plums, smoky leather, and red fruit, Grenache providing a floral lift of rose petal, strawberry, and clove, and Mourvèdre rounding things out with meaty, earthy undertones.

The 2015 Dovecote Redtail is extraordinarily versatile with food.  With its bright acidity and compelling palate it complements the flavors of lighter fare such as grilled chicken and roasted turkey, but is also robust enough to enjoy with heartier dishes such as lamb, beef, or venison.

Vineyard Notes

Established in 1990, Thompson Vineyard lies just inland from California’s windswept Central Coast on the eastern side of the cool San Antonio Creek Valley in Northern Santa Barbara County.  It rests within the Alisos Canyon corridor where transverse mountain ranges flood the area with daily fog and ocean air, extending chilly mornings and afternoons, softening midday heat, and yielding cold and often icy nights.

Planted to primarily Rhone varietals, here the vines sit on their own roots in alluvial sand over a deep foundation of white limestone that once comprised the floor of the Pacific Ocean.  Thompson Vineyard naturally produces extremely small, slow, and evenly-ripening yields that often stretch harvests well into late November, resulting in deeply complex cool-climate wines that evolve gracefully with age.

Vintage Notes

The 2015 vintage was unique in numerous ways.  After four years of record-setting drought yet increasingly bountiful yields, the vines decided an extreme change of course was necessary.  Bud break in February was one of (if not) the earliest on record.  Crop size was the lightest on record with many surrounding vineyards opting to forego harvest altogether because there was simply nothing to pick.  Clusters were small pinecone shapes with tiny pea-sized berries.  Rounding out the vintage’s extremes, harvest was the earliest in the history of Santa Barbara County, with a ripening process at Thompson that often meanders well into November finishing before the end of September (and most other vineyards done in August).  As a result the 2015 wines are imbued with a richly expressive and concentrated flavor profile from the small cluster and berry sizes, yet are balanced by remarkable freshness, acidity, and aromatics as a result of the early harvest.

Winemaking Notes

Grapes were hand harvested at night, hand sorted, de-stemmed, and cold soaked for 72 hours.  The fruit was then foot-stomped by our children and fermented in small open-top bins.  After fermentation, the wine was gently pressed and then aged for 12 months in 100% neutral oak barrels.  Bottled August 19, 2016 and then conditioned for 18 months before release.  We expect it will improve with age over the next 7-10 years.

Proprietary Red Blend
45% Syrah / 30% Grenache / 25% Mourvèdre
Thompson Vineyard
Vine Age
25 years
Syrah: Estrella River / Grenache: Alban 2 / Mourvèdre: Massal
Sandy Loam
Alisos Canyon, Los Alamos Valley, Santa Barbara County
Cool I/II
23.5 / 24.9 / 22.1
100% Neutral Oak
3.32 / 3.37 / 3.49
Peak Years