To paraphrase the motto of the venerable New York Times
“All The News That’s Fit to Print”
We copy below some excerpts which recently appeared in a blog by Robert Hillyer:
“Many years ago, at my first sommelier job, I picked an obscure, organic Cabernet from Monterey as my house pour. The distributors had never heard of such a thing, but promised to get me a good “by the glass” price for an obscure product. That wine … “Cachagua” Cabernet Sauvignon, is now known as Heller Estate. The name was the Native American pronunciation of “Cache Aqua,” the Spanish name for “Hidden Waters” as the vineyards are fed by underground springs.
When I first encountered the Cab, as a waiter, it was sent back by a table as not being “California Enough.”
The bartender left it behind the bar for the somm to taste the next day, but forgot to cork it back up. When we arrived the next morning, the entire bar area smelled like blackberries. From that day on, I decanted the wine whenever anyone ordered it by the bottle. The other waiters asked me why I would decant a then-$35 bottle, and I said “Walk by the table in 15 minutes, and you tell me.” The cloud of blackberry aroma was evident from five feet away. Imagine a house wine that not only doesn’t go BAD, but gets better when open for a day or two!
In a 1787 issue of the New York Journal, a reference to the above title can be found, alluding to the idea of the oppressed of other nations having a place to go for refuge.
The phrase “They shall all sit under their own vines and fig tree” is also notably found in a well-known letter that George Washington wrote to a congregation in Rhode Island. In the letter, Washington proclaimed, “May all who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants – while everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid”.
In the ensuing years, American Colonists heeded Washington’s words and began planting their own vines and fig trees in their new land. Throughout the years, the grapevine plantings have expanded throughout America, and the wines produced from them are now of world-class recognition.
Our vineyards are now approaching a half-Century after planting (1968), and the roots of these vines have now descended to some thirty feet below the surface of the hills of Carmel Valley, seeking the water levels under our vineyards. Stressing these vines to do so, happily results in outstanding fruit of quality and flavor.
We have great hopes for the vintage and truly wish all of our wine club members and their families a safe and prosperous year.
We will begin setting the stage for our vintage in a few weeks when we start to prune our organic vines deep within the Cachagua Valley. Pruning the vines while they are dormant allows us to control how much fruit each vine will produce and is the first step in a long growing season.Read more…
Twenty years ago, we planted French prune (plum) trees around the perimeter of our vineyards. These trees play host to predatory wasps, which attack the eggs of the undesirable insects in the vineyards. Hence, it eliminates the need to apply harmful herbicides and pesticides. These beneficial wasps help support our organic vineyard program.
In addition, at the end of the harvest, a compost of grape skins, seeds and stems are spread throughout the vineyards. This creates a home to vineyard spiders, which aid in controlling unwanted insects. This maintains an eco-balance in our organic vineyard.
The grapes produced from this organic program are CERTIFIED by a USDA certifier and the corresponding certificate is issued; all of the grapes used to produce our wines are grown on our vineyard only. We do not source fruit from other vineyards.
As we are winding our way through another highly successful vintage, we’d like to give everyone an update on our organic vineyards and winery.
We have already picked our mountain grown Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Malbec, Merlot and one block of gorgeous, ripe Cabernet Sauvignon as of today – 25 September 2015. Easily our earliest harvest in 20 years, we are amazed at the quality of what has been rolling off our incredible vineyard.
With over 100 acres planted to 9 varieties, Heller Estate is the largest grape grower in the Cachagua Valley. Thanks to the Heller family, we have been cultivating these organic grapes since 1993 with the intent to minimally impact our natural surroundings, ecosystem and community.
This time of year is exciting and vibrant in the vineyard. Lush cover crop grows between and within our vine rows, the hillsides are still green and alive from the small amount of rain we received in December and early March. Crickets, California peeper frogs, songbirds and afternoon breezes echo all day among our awakening vines.
I am lucky enough to experience this tranquility each and every day as I move through the vineyard and the surrounding Heller Estate ranch on the edge of the vast Ventana Wilderness.Read more…
Welcome to our 2015 3rd Quarter Wine Club!!! Fresh off winning some nice medals from the Orange County Fair which includes two golds for our 2013 Cachagua Cabernet and 2012 Petit Verdot (as well as others), we are happy to include the Cachagua in this quarter’s shipment! We are also excited about some upcoming releases…
Our 2013 Chardonnay is about to hit the shelves and also sports a new, freshly designed label from Mrs. Heller. Be prepared for brimming aromas of pineapple and butterscotch with a lovely citrus mouth feel. Also, we will soon be releasing our 2012 Pinot Noir and our 2012 Petite Sirah – two wines that occupy total opposite ends of the red wine spectrum. The Pinot encompassing delicate cranberry and lightness of tannins while the Petite embraces dark berry with gripping tannins and acidity. Read more…