“We’re embarking on a multi-generational adventure, exploring three of the best things in life: fathers, daughters, and wine.” Quote from www.fanddcellars.com
The Fathers & Daughters Cellars represents three generations of fathers and daughters. The patriarch is Kurt Schoeneman, his daughter Sarah, Sarah’s husband Guy Pacurar, their daughter, Ella, and Guy’s older daughter, Taylor. The winery is located in Anderson Valley of the coastal region of Mendocino County in Northern California.
Their story began in 1996 with Sarah Schoeneman helping her father Kurt Schoeneman research the perfect area to grow grapes. She found a parcel of land in the Anderson Valley, the Ferrington Vineyard, which was long neglected. Kurt, who was a builder, knew nothing about wine. So he wisely sought out the expertise of vineyard managers and winemakers in the industry while also taking courses in viticulture. With love and determination, the Ferrington Vineyard was restored and is today recognized for its premium quality grapes.
They have 72 acres under vine that include Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer. The vineyard is especially noted for its signature fruit, Pinot Noir, in addition to a block of 40+ year-old Sauvignon Blanc vines. Most of the grapes for their wines are sourced from this vineyard. However, grapes for their rustic sparkling wine are sourced from Roederer’s Estate Vineyard.
For many years F&D has sold their grapes to high-end labels without producing or bottling their own wine. However, that all changed with the first vintage for their own label in 2012. It also happened to be the birth year of Ella, Sarah and Guy’s daughter and the inspiration behind creating the label. Phil Baxter, a well-known and talented winemaker, was consulted about wine production. Not only did Phil oversee the production of their inaugural vintage of Ella’s Reserve Pinot Noir, he now oversees the winemaking for F&D’s successive vintages. To quote Guy regarding production, “Fathers & Daughters is a high-touch, small production family venture. You will find our fingerprints on every step of the process, from the harvest to the press, to the bottle. We produce all of our wines at Baxter Winery.”
Here are three impressive wines that I received from Fathers & Daughters Cellars.
Sarah’s Rustic Bubbles Sparkling Chardonnay 2018
The grapes for this 100% Chardonnay were sourced from the Roederer Estate. It is produced using the Pétillant-Naturel method (pét- nat), a very old technique for making natural wines. It is often referred to as Méthode Ancestrale, which predates the “traditional method”. Unlike traditional-method sparkling wines that go through two fermentations, Pétillant-Naturel goes through only one fermentation. The wine is allowed to ferment naturally in stainless steel barrels. When the sugar has dropped significantly, the wine is bottled, crown-capped and unfiltered to allow the yeast to complete fermentation in the bottle and under pressure. The result is an intense array of aromas, flavors, effervescence and yeast.
F&D suggests serving the wine “deeply chilled”. And I suggest uncapping it gently over a sink with a wine glass close by. The foam that spews forth is both festive and quite aromatic! Apples, baked bread, floral and citrus tantalize the nose while the palate is entertained with a fine mousse texture and hints of lemon, apricot, tropical notes and a touch of minerality.
Sauvignon Blanc 2019
The grapes for this wine were harvested from vines originally planted in the late 70s in the Ferrington Vineyard.
Lovely aromas of floral, citrus and melon segue onto the palate with notes of ruby grapefruit, lime, sweet apple, a touch of minerality and herbs. This is a refreshing wine that blends sweet and savory with just the right amount of acidity.
Ella’s Reserve Pinot Noir 2017
Twenty-five acres of Ferrington Vineyard is dedicated to multiple clones of Pinot Noir, the signature grape of this vineyard. The clones used for this wine are Pommard, known for its dark color, intense fruit and fragrant spice components and Waldenswil, known for its floral, spice and bright red fruit. The wine is aged 20 months in 25% once used and 75% neutral French oak barrels before bottling.
This wine starts out with heady aromas of floral, baking spice, dark plum, berries and dark cherry. The palate offers juicy plum, strawberries, cherry, and a touch of toasted herbs rounded out with a dash of earth, nutmeg and minerality. It is vibrant, smooth, complex and beautifully balanced.
Fathers & Daughters has succeeded in bottling the very essence of Ferrington Vineyard and is obviously a labor of love! I look forward to tasting their other wines!
Until next time…