The Wine CaveYou are immediately assaulted by beautiful aromas as soon as the massive wine cave doors swing open. Completed in 2012, not more than six wine caves can be found in all of Carmel Valley. Nick Elliot (Guest Services/Manager/Owner) and Hunter Lowder (Marketing Manager/Owner) are partners in this family business and when they're not giving the grand tour, both can be found knee deep in grapes (they recently bottled their whites). The winery is sustainable, recently certified organic, maintaining a low carbon footprint, and Hunter and Nick both expressed their dedication to the stewardship of the land. They're also investigating the possibility of using solar energy.
From the BarrelThe first tasting was the 2013 Hunter's Cuvee, a high end Burgundian clone (115) from Dijon region and influenced by the European flavor profile. A very good vintage, aged in half new and half neutral barrels, aromas of ripe berries and fruit forward but at the same time dry with hints of dried herbs and leather.
The second barrel sampled was an interesting experiment, the Late Harvest Pinot Noir Port (working title Sueno), which was a cross section of grapes from favorite vineyards that the partners each picked from, fortified with Cognac. Dark and syrupy, black fruits, caramelized dates, nuts and dark chocolate.
ProductionAll pressing, aging, bottling, etc is done in the cave. Entire bunches of white grapes are pressed gently and fermented in stainless steel tanks to give the wines a more astringent "pop". The red Pinot Noir grapes are destemmed for softness, put into hoppers and pumped into open top stainless steel tanks for fermentation. The Pinot Noirs are generally more old world style, with less fresh fruits and more oak, earth, mushroom and barnyard.
AgingAll French oak from producer Francois Freres "Mercurey" is used for 2 years for maximum affect before being switched over to a neutral phase duty.
Three BottlesHolman Ranch Vineyards Estate Grown Pinot Gris 2012
Fresh acidity, floral, green pepper, citrus and honey.
Holman Ranch Vineyards Estate Grown Pinot Noir 2010
Hearty, savory, dry with medium acidity, earthy, mild strawberry, cherry, old world style.
Holman Ranch is truly beautiful, but there's so much more... a perfect place for a wedding, a retreat away from everyday life, an equestrian center, even corporate events. There's a pool, spa, wine tastings, archery, golf, skeet shooting, olive groves, BBQs... and more.