Mark Aselstine
 
August 20, 2014 | Mark Aselstine

Owner and Winemaker Michael Parmenter Talks About Vinroc, Napa Valley (Atlas Peak AVA)

Vinroc is one of our favorite project's on Atlas Peak in Napa Valley.  To say that visiting Atlas Peak is a bit like stepping back in time in Napa, is probably an understatement.  The first time we drove up Atlas Peak Road, the locals were waiving to us as they walked down the other side of the street, there's only a handful of wineries with tasting permits, so traffic is sparse.  What winemakers on the Valley floor have known for some time though is that the fruit being grown at Vinroc and other sites on Atlas Peak is among the highest quality mountain Cabernet in the world, from Dos Lagos Vineyards being able to trade their Cabernet grapes for Bob Foley's winemaking to the Red Table Wine project at Vinroc, there's some exciting things happening on Atlas Peak in terms of winemaking, in addition to what is really a long history of growing some of the best fruit in Napa.

Male voice: All right, you're on. Michael: Okay. I'm Michael Parmenter. I'm the owner and the winemaker for Vin Roc wine caves. We're in the Atlas Peak AVA of Napa Valley. Couple of unique things about where we're located, we're at 1700 foot elevation. This valley floor is about sea level, so obviously we're much higher than down on the valley floor. The rocks and soil around here are all volcanic, so we have a bit of uniqueness to our wines, from the volcanic soil. They tend to have a smoky minerality to the Cabernets and the other reds that are grown up here. We get very low yields, because it's not very fertile up here, but we produce some very intense red wines. We're sitting in our cave. We have rock everywhere, including the fact that the hillside above the vineyard is where we dug our cave into the rock. It works wonderful for production of wine and barrel storing. So the temperature here is constant, it's 63 degrees year round. Perfect environment. We do very small production. We do something kind of unique, in the sense that we produce all of our wines in one ton increments. So, we go through the vineyard in different times over the harvest period, and pick one or two tons at a time. We ferment in one ton bins. Each of those bins gives us two barrels, that we age as a separate lot, for two years, before we go through and blend the barrels together. We make three wines. We make a Cabernet, it's 100% Cabernet from our vineyards here on Atlas Peak. We make a red blend that's 50% Cabernet, blended with Merlot and Cabernet Franc, that's purchased from . . . they're grapes purchased from other parts of the Napa Valley, to blend with our Cabernet. And then we make a Chardonnay, from grapes that are grown down in Carneros. So, the three wines, I think, are a nice complement to each other. Male Voice: Perfect. Thanks, Michael. That was awesome.

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