Last week, Hannah Nicole Vineyards and Winery released three new white wines under its “New Era” label after investing 18-months in production and creating a new taste.
The release was the first by winemaker Julian Erggelet which include the ’15 Rose, ’15 Viogner & ’15 Sauvignon Blanc. The wine has been released to members and will be available to the public in September.
According to the winery, located in Brentwood (6700 Balfour Road), these wines demonstrate the beautiful symmetry of wine making, perfectly balanced while capturing the true essence of each varietal.
Erggelet said it was an exciting time for the winery noting all the changes in farming the vineyard which provided a better grape—noting that the three white wines are complimentary to one another in a summer/fall release. He notes it showcases the new approach by the team as a whole.
The ’15 Rose, which was the first release is a smooth wine that is perfect for a warm day. He had fun making the wine.
“If you enjoy what you doing, making wine is fun and not work,” says Erggelet. ”Making a rose, a lot of people will argue making white wine is easy and making red is more difficult, it takes more time, more effort and more intricate. White wine is a shorter process and straight forward. It can go in either direction. It’s very easy to make a bad white wine, but it’s very hard to make a good white wine. The same thing applies to rose, it’s easy to make an average rose, and it’s difficult to make a good rose because temperatures and fermentation have to be spot on. The juice you start out fermenting must be spot on. You have to control fermentation and taste every day because it’s such a volatile process to ensure you are going in the right direction.”
Erggelet stated that you have to follow the right process for good wine to ensure the wine stays fresh.
“It’s a fast process, but you have to be very focused and concentrated,” says Erggelet. “Luckily here we are working with great fruit and were able to preserve this elegant fruit that represents what we do in the vineyards and we captured it in the vineyard.”
Still, he says the hard work begins in the vineyard and without the right approach in farming the vineyard, the grapes will never reach their full potential in the cellar.
“It was the approach in the vineyards, the essence of great wine is in the vineyard which is what makes a great wine. You can save a lot in the cellar, but in the cellar you are a mediator, you are processing what you get. So if the fruit you process in the cellar is high quality fruit that is well balanced, good acidity, has rounded and structure, then your mission is to capture that. I have the feeling the team and I did a great job and my respect to them. It was very precise work and a great effort. Our team in the vineyard did a great job,” says Erggelet. “My effort and contribution is to make sure that process was seamless and guide everything from the first day to spring to the last day of harvest and ensure everyone works together for high quality fruit to quality cellar work to professional bottle work to storing to handling to ensure a good finished product.”
He says their approach in viticulture was to keep the vineyard and ground healthy so it can regenerate and to turn a dead vineyard into a living ecosystem saying they are achieving that because the vineyard is still green, healthy insects are flying around and all of that contributed to great grapes.
Two other wines in the release are the ’15 Viogner which he says is more on the “floral side” and the ’15 Sauvignon Blanc being more complex and fruit forward.
“Both are excellent wines,” says Erggelet. “Both are 100% estate fruit. Both wines are very varietal specific which makes a winemaker happy because it makes them more interesting.”
He explained the Sauvignon Blanc has more of a lime flavor that carries through a complex mouth-feel which is a textbook Sauvignon Blanc with low alcohol. He says it is fresh but with interesting texture and complicity which he is sure people will appreciate.
“If someone knows their wine well, they will know a good Sauvignon Blanc,” says Erggelet.
He explained the ’15 Viogner is more on the easily digestible side. It’s a wine that everyone can find something they appreciate calling it more of their crowd pleaser wine.
“It does offer more fruit forwardness, more juiciness. It’s the perfect 4:00 pm bottle of wine that is light,” explained Erggelet. “Whereas the Sauvignon Blanc is more complex of the two which I prefer to sever with a meal or appetizer. Both are excellent wine and I think our customers will appreciate them both.”
Erggelet says he is excited that the 18-month process has paid off noting they have been reinventing the quality of wine in Contra Costa without compromise and now can finally release them.
“Sharing the wine with the audience, the consumer and people who will enjoy it is the big pleasure and there is nothing greater for a winemaker than seeing his wine being enjoyed in a restaurant or at home. It’s really great when people provide feedback saying they really enjoy that bottle of wine. Wine brings people together and makes people happy. If we can contribute that, a local high quality wine to the community that people can be proud of, then I think we have succeeded our mission,” explained Erggelet.
Erggelet says stay tuned to the 2016 release noting that the 2015 is great, but the 2016 fruit is blowing them away—in terms of quality of fruit.
“The 2015-16 vintages will put Contra Costa wine on the map,” says Erggelet.
Debbie Francis, Director of Operations, highlighted the last 12-months have been a “wild ride” with all the changes at the winery.
“It’s been a challenge and now the community support has been tremendous where our events are selling out. I am excited about having a New Era here with the winemaking the development and style. All of this is adding to the momentum of it all,” said Francis.
She thanked the community for what she calls a second chance at the winery saying the community wants them to succeed and wants something in the City of Brentwood to work out for everyone.
“The community is huge to have a buy-in. It’s huge because they are our customer base and we need them to support us. They come to our events, they support us with weddings, and benefit concerts. We have also started working with other wineries and creating better relationships and working to make our winegrowers association stronger,” says Francis. “Thank you, thank you thank you and I am happy to see people come back and see a growth in our membership by 150 new members who have returned. It’s been wonderful to see that and can’t thank them enough for the support. The community really wants this to work. They want something in their own backyard.”
Francis says the biggest compliment from visitors in the last year is how they have tweaked their approach to customer service and become more engaged with their visitors.
“People like the new style and our team. The management at corporate has given me great latitude which has helped me change customer service, wine club and packages. Its showing and people like the friendly faces behind the counter,” says Francis. “The events are now going smoother and makes everything nice.”
Francis again thanked the community for a second chance and says the wine is something the community can be excited about.
For more on Hannah Nicole Vineyards and Winery, visit www.hnvwines.com. They are located at 6700 Balfour Road, Brentwood CA. The winery is open 7-days per week from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm.