2020 Pét Nat Pinot Noir Production Notes

“Let’s Party” was crafted by hand in an ancient sparkling wine process, Méthode Ancestral. The result was a this feisty, young, fruit forward, low tannin, playful way of revisiting the past. Full cluster fermentation.  Cherry notes on the palette. Orange blossom, Indian baking spices, high-tone cherry, dusty tannins on the finish.  A delightful wine. Case production 34.

First, the Saignee! While crafting our popular and delicious Bacigalupi Pinot Noir, we typically “bleed off” just a little bit of the juice from the tank of fermenting must. This leaves a higher skin-to-juice ratio for the main tank during fermentation, giving us the desired concentration and richness we seek in that wine. The French call this Saignee, literally translated as “to bleed”, and it leaves us with a rose colored bi-product wine, typically just used for “topping”.

Aubrey shaking each bottle to agitate the lees and encourage fermentation.

The second step we then took was to keep this juice separate while it continued to ferment, and then, using an ancient process called the Méthode Ancestral, we bottled the wine while it was still fermenting, thus trapping in CO2, producing bubbles.

Juan freezing the “lees.”

The last step is to riddle the sediment from the native yeast to the neck of the bottle, freeze it and disgorge the ice “plug”.

Once disgorging (each bottle by hand) is complete, each bottle is topped off and a new crown cap applied.
Disgorged, ready for labeling.
Kimmy hand labeling each bottle.

All of this is done by hand, so very time consuming and labor intensive. But the result, a delicious Pétillant Naturel of Pinot Noir (frequently referred to as a “Pét Nat”) is worth it. If we hadn’t already committed these bottles, we probably would have just kept them for ourselves.

Learn more about the CAST Creative Lab Here.

CAST Creative Lab Wraps Up for 2021

We have wrapped up the first year of the CAST Creative Lab (CCL) and a huge THANK YOU for all those exploratory wine drinkers out there who fearlessly explored some familiar wine varietals made in bright, exciting and surprising ways. Supporting CAST in this program not only allowed us to roll up our sleeves during the pandemic and try some new processes, but also allowed our winemaking and marketing teams to engage their skills, stretch their intuitive wine making senses, and explore their creativity. We are certainly honored to have a team that exemplifies the spirit of exploration and understands that taking risks can yield the some delightful results.

Two wines from the CCL program will graduate to our main assortment in the Spring of 2022 ; the Pét Nat of Pinot Noir (Let’s Party) and the White Zinfandel (Don’t Judge Me). These two wines were received so well when introduced  into our tasting flights we decided to continue them, bottling this coming January.

CCL for 2022 is still under development, two of three wines we had planned for the vintage suffered from a fruit shortage (no, not the drought) courtesy of a hungry bear. We hope she/he has delightful dreams this winter! But we are moving forward with a unique  style Rosé, if you’re interested in being on the CCL mailing list, please send us a note and we’ll keep you current on this and future experimental wines.

CAST Wines Sustainable Farming Objectives

“Pour it forward”

CAST Wines’ estate vineyard consists of 80% Zinfandel and 20% Petite Sirah, providing grapes for several of our wines. It was planted in 2000 by noted Sonoma County vineyard manager Ulises Valdez. Prior to 2000, our land was part of a large sheep ranch for decades – the heard actually still exists on a smaller parcel just up the street from us at Canyon Road. Located in the Dry Creek Valley AVA and within Sonoma County, our land and surrounding farms have a long history of rich agricultural bounty, from prunes, apples and peaches to wine grapes, primarily farmed by families and small operators like CAST. Indeed, 80% of our county’s vineyards are made up of parcels less than 100 acres. From the days of the nomadic Indians in this region, the almost perfect growing climate, the positioning of our valley vis-à-vis the Pacific and our 39-degree latitude have produced abundant, high quality agricultural products. This history is important and part of what attracted us to this land.

As members of the Sonoma County Winegrowers, CAST took part in the bold 2014 initiative to honor this rich history and become the most sustainable winegrowing region in the world. A thoughtful program was instituted to promote collaboration and education among hundreds of growers in documenting and embracing sustainable growing practices. The result? In just a few short years, 99% of the vineyard acreage in Sonoma County has been certified sustainable by a third-party program. Our land had been farmed with thoughtful practices prior to 2014, but the county initiative encouraged us to focus and ultimately become certified, not only by Sonoma County but also by the state of California.

What does it mean to be “sustainable”? Definitions vary region to region, but what it means to us is pretty simple: honor the history of our land, protect and preserve it and leave it to future generations in as good or better condition as when we came here. We acknowledge that, in the long run, we are just temporary custodians of this beautiful and fertile property, so we take seriously the impact we have on it and how that determines future viability, not just for our property but for our surrounding ecosystem.

Sustainable Practices

In their most basic form, sustainable practices essentially deal with soil and water health and reducing the environmental impact of our activities. Face it, the most sustainable we could ultimately be would amount to letting the land go native. Absent that extreme measure, we aim to:

Limit the use of synthetic products in soil amendments, nutrients, herbicides, and pesticides.

Minimize practices that disturb the ground and instead promote soil-building via the planting of cover crops and the
use of composting.

Reduce our water use for irrigation by migrating toward dryer farming and using spot drip systems to reduce
wasted evaporation.

Be mindful of overall energy use so as to reduce negative environmental impact generally.

Instituting these practices takes time and is undertaken in many small decisions year around, year after year. CAST Wines embarked in 2020 on the three-year path to now become certified organic – an even more robust effort involving further criteria including, among other things, the removal of treated pine trellis posts and the mindful selection of every single object and compound used in the vineyard such as the string used to tie the vines to the trellises. We see it as a natural evolution in our management of this property and believe that these efforts certainly lead to higher quality grapes and better wine – not just today but for years and decades to come, no matter what is grown here in the future.

Happy 2022!Take advantage of this rare deal andrestock your cellar.

As a thank you for your support, and to celebrate a new year, 
we want to offer everyone 15% off ANY WINE purchase and $1 dollar ground shipping on 6+ bottles now through January 31st. Members enjoy 25% off ALL WINES and $1 ground shipping on 6+ bottles now until January 31st! Not a member?
Please reach out to our
 Member Concierge to assist you selecting the perfect CAST Membership for you.

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