With its perfectly aspected southwest facing slopes, limestone-rich foothills, and marine-influenced terroir, the property lies in the heart of the Willow Creek District, which has come to be known as the top sub-appellation of Paso Robles. The terroir of Willow Creek shows in its wines. The best expressions are richly textured and precisely structured, with mineral or loamy accents and ripe tannins. Our neighboring wineries Saxum, Denner, and Linne Calodo have long been regarded as the cult wineries of the region.
Saxum’s 2016 Bone Rock, a block of the famed James Berry Vineyard, received a perfect 100-point score and was praised as “the greatest wine ever produced from the region,” by wine critic Jeb Dunnuck. To rub shoulders with neighbors such as these is indeed humbling, and sets an incredibly high bar for the micro-lot estate wines LXV’s estate vineyard will one day produce.
Bill Gibbs is the grower for the famed vineyards of G2 and Heart Stone – sites prominently featured in Saxum’s stable of single-vineyard designate wines. He also farms for Clos Solene, Torrin and other wineries that focus heavily on terroir.
A chance meeting with Bill, one evening, led to a longer conversation about the vision for Willow Creek property. Given the range of soil and climate we have within our 13.5 acres, I expressed my desire to plant a vineyard that is specific to levels of clone selection based on the soils and micro climates in the small 2 acre lots.
With Bill’s guidance, we are planting the varieties that have come to resonate with our brand and our soul. Chiefly, Cabernet Sauvignon Clones 4, 6, and 337 are notably Beckstoffer’s favorites planted in Napa’s iconic To Kalon Vineyard. Of course, we wouldn’t leave out Kunal’s favorite child, Cabernet Franc as well as two different Brunello clones of Sangiovese.
Clone choice is only one of many important decisions when establishing a vineyard. Variety choice, site climate, soil type, vineyard design (spacing, trellising, and rootstock), and annual cultural practices (irrigation, canopy management, and crop load) will impact final wine quality as profoundly as the clonal choice.
SANGIOVESE – Brunello clones
Clone VCR 6 (Montalcino)
Intense ruby red, perfumed and spicy, with plum and cherry scents; fruity/spicy flavors; robust, adapted for long agingI
Clone CLONE VCR 23 (Romagnolo)
Deep ruby red; spicy aroma of cinnamon, black pepper, licorice; spicy taste; good body, structure and polyphenols; adapted for long aging and/or blending.
CABERNET SAUVIGNON – clones of the Beckstoffer To-Kalon fame
Known as the Mendoza Clone, originally from Argentina, is a moderate producer with strong flavor intensity. The Clone has very good color, aromas and palate balance, with little herbal character and some spiciness. Common aroma descriptors include blackberry, cooked prunes, tar, tobacco and green bean. Common taste descriptors are cassis and spicy.
Known as the Jackson Clone, was imported to California and planted in local Santa Clara vineyards in the 1870’s. It is a very low producer (3-4 tons per acre). The wines show a very dark color, firm tannins, a strong flavor profile and a distinctiveness. Common aroma descriptors include vanilla, black olive, soy, herbaceous and clove. Common taste descriptors include berry, olive and chocolate.