Upper Ojai, Ventura County
We got so depressed about the quantity of grapes from last three crops of Roll viognier (frost in 1998 and 1999, and a hail storm in 2000) that we went to this new vineyard in the Happy Canyon area of Santa Ynez to buy super ripe grapes for our ice wine style dessert wine. Climatically similar to Roll Ranch, we achieved a wine that is similar to our very successful 1996 late harvest.
The grapes were picked, driven to a commercial freezer nearby, and then brought to the winery a few days later for pressing. By pressing the grapes while still frozen, the ice crystals are left behind, and only concentrated grape juice is recovered. The 42% sugar content press juice was drained into older barrels for fermentation and aging. The wine was bottled into half bottles in the spring. This full throttle sweet wine is a perfect match for fruit desserts like pie or cobbler and has enough floral viognier character to stand up to chocolate. On the other hand, it is so unctuous that you could skip dessert and just savor it by itself.