Winemaking at Thomas Knoll

Winemaking at Thomas Knoll

With help from our vineyard expert Mike Seitz, we identified some of the best Cabernet fruit in the Napa Valley, which we source from Morisoli Vineyard in the famed Rutherford Bench and Anapurna Vineyard in the highly acclaimed  Stags Leap District — together with fruit from our own estate.

Mike also introduced me to Steve Reynolds of Reynolds Family Winery, one of Napa Valley's top winemakers and an all-around great guy. Steve agreed to assist me with Thomas Knoll, the name my family and I had chosen for our family brand.

In 2003, five years after we planted our vines, we began to take the wine from vineyard to bottle with the help of Steve and our three children. The fruit was allowed to stay on the vine as long as possible, and was picked at exactly the right brix. After hand-sorting, the crushed fruit was cold-soaked with dry ice before fermentation for 3 5 days to extract as much color and character from the skins as possible. Initially, some juice went to tank and some to bin but, last year, we started fermenting directly in our new French oak barrels.

By fermenting each lot separately with specially selected yeasts, we could then selectively blend to create the perfect complexity. After pressing the individual lots, we transferred the wine to 50% neutral and 50% new French oak Marchieve barrels produced with a medium toast. Care was taken during the 18-months of barrel aging to avoid contaminating or "bruising" the wine. We then racked into tanks with pressured lines of nitrogen carefully and slowly, never using large volume pumps.

Steve lent his expertise and palette to creating our final blend. In 2003, our estate fruit comprised 60% of the total blend, with the rest coming from the Morisoli and Anapurna vineyards.

This wine is complex with hints of chocolate and chili from the Thomas Knoll vineyard and Bing cherry subtleties from the Stags Leap fruit. We invite you to enjoy the love and passion that my family has put into crafting this wine!

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