Jalama Vineyard is 3 miles southwest
of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA and slightly less than 5
miles southwest from the Cargasacchi Vineyard in the
Sta. Rita Hills.
Nearer to the coast, Jalama is outside
the boundaries of both the Santa Ynez Valley and the
Sta. Rita Hills AVAs and thus falls within the larger
Santa Barbara County AVA.
The soils at Jalama are similar to
those of the Cargasacchi Vineyard, as they are also
comprised of well-drained calcareous clays with high
levels of free lime. Please read
Peter's in-depth explanation of the factors influencing
the vineyard below.
Most of the Pinot Noir from this vineyard
also goes to fellow winemakers, and only a small portion
is reserved for Cargasacchi wines. Following are some
observations from our winery clients:
||Peter tailors his farming techniques to the
needs of each individual vintage and does his best
to ensure that his grapes represent the various
terroirs that are present in his 450 acre property.
Coming into the '06 harvest, I had no idea
or hope that I would ever get fruit from a Cargasacchi
vineyard. Then came a phone call in late August.
Peter was offering me one ton of this coveted
fruit. I couldn't believe it! My head was spinning
||The experience of "Cargasacchi"
is like none other. Few have been tortured by the
depth of his intellect, his total knowledge of weather,
global or local, his complete understanding of viticulture.
Besides, how can you not like a guy who shaves his
To know Peter is, well, like none other. Oh, yeah
he really is the nicest, genital man I know. God
bless his wife!
||Well aware of Peter's meticulous attention
to detail, we were pleased to obtain Jalama fruit
in 2007. The resulting wines show great elegance
and high-toned red fruit character that make a great
compliment to the heavier, black-fruited wines from
the warmer Santa Rita Hills.
The soils at Jalama are similar
to those of the Cargasacchi Vineyard, as they are also
comprised of well-drained calcareous clays with high
levels of free lime. The soil pH is between 8.0 and
8.2 and ranges between 6,000 and 7,000 ppm calcium.
As the result of a full previous century of dry farming,
the very lean soils are unusually low in organic matter,
conferring low vine vigor, extremely low yields, but
beautiful, perfect Pinot Noir.
The macroclimate is unique and interesting
in part as the result of topography. Although more coastally
proximate, the vineyard is in a box canyon, (Salsipuedes
Canyon,) rather than in an open, east-west transverse
river valley like the Cargasacchi Vineyard. The result
is a much different maritime influence, with slightly
less wind, but more coastal fog and a potentially larger
diurnal temperature shift.
Planting was begun in 1999 with a
single acre of Dijon 115 Pinot Noir, with additional
plantings in 2000, and 2002. These included Dijon 114;
the Martin Ray aka Mt. Eden clone; more Dijon115; a
very tannic, dark, suitcase selection purported to be
828 from Soane Et Loire that is a very interesting imposter
but clearly isn’t 828; and a small amount of an
Alsatian Pinot Grigio selection used to produce the
late harvest, Cargasacchi INVINCIBLE SUN.
Cargasacchis, whose Santa Rita Hills vineyard is
one of the most brilliant in the appellation, have this
Wine Enthusiast on the Pali 2006 Cargasacchi
Jalama Pinot Noir
A DIFFERENT APPROACH
The planting scheme at Jalama was
strongly influenced by a trip to Alto-Adige/Trentino
and the Agricultural Institute of San Michele (Istituto
Agrario Di San Michele All’Adige). There,
Peter observed viticultural techniques and trellis designs
that increased the expression of fruit aromatics by
up to 400% in aromatic white wine varieties.
With good fortune and the advantage
of favorable topography, the vineyard was laid out on
a slightly south-west by north-east row orientation.
(Also utilizing observations made with a simple Stonehenge-like
device, or seasonal sundial / miniature solar observatory,
for plotting the sun’s location between winter
and summer solstice and back again.)
THE SOLAR CHARIOT FOLLOWS A PARABOLA!!!
Curiously and counter intuitively,
rather than an arc, the sun carves a parabola on its
path through the sky from horizon to horizon. On an
east west row axis generally, during the hottest part
of the summer days, (nearest solstice) the sun is traveling
over the rows from the north side of the vine to south
and back north again. The sun is overhead on its east
west path, with the full canopy shading the fruit for
several hours when solar radiation is strongest.
The purpose of the row orientation
was to manipulate the sun passively and to take advantage
of observations of the sun’s parabolic path, using
canopy shading influenced by row orientation on vertical
shoot positioned (VSP) trellises. The inspiration was
to mimic observations gained from the Pergola Trentina
that translated into increased fruit aromatics.
With observations gained through trial
and error and under the critical eyes of Frank Ostini
and Gray Hartley of Hartley-Ostini Hitching Post
Wines, adjustments were made during the first three
vintages, until the optimal leaf removal and canopy
manipulation regimen began to become apparent.
With this row orientation on the VSP
trellis, during the period nearest the summer solstice
and longest summer days, because the sun in its parabolic
path rises north in the east horizon, passing south
overhead and then back north towards the western horizon,
the fruit stays cooler, and retains aromatic compounds.
Combined with pulling the lower leaves on the north
side of canopy only, and taking into account timing
of veraison, the fruit receives direct sunlight up to
the time of veraison only.
After the summer solstice, because
the sun begins rising and setting further south on the
horizon each day, thereafter each day less direct solar
radiation strikes the north side of the canopy. Simultaneously,
increasing sunlight strikes the south side canopy, where
all the leaves remain to protect and shade the fruit.
(No leaf pulling is employed on the south canopy wall.)
After veraison, subsequent to the
middle of August, the now black fruit only gets sun
flecks and filtered sunlight, rather than full sunlight,
through the retained leaves on the south side canopy.
Importantly, early on in the growing
season, the fruit receives the direct (but cooler early
morning and late afternoon sunlight) needed for phenolic
development and pyrazine conversion to terpenes, the
change of green and herbaceous compounds into floral
and fruity ones. After berry coloration, the fruit does
not get direct sun that can damage or heat the black
We are still tweaking the system,
learning and making adjustments each year as weather
patterns vary and as we see variability within what
appear to be predictable weather patterns. When necessary
(and able) we use cover crops to manage soil/vineyard
floor thermal properties. Along with trying to predict
and adjust for weather patterns without over adjusting,
overcompensating or limiting our future options as the
weather continually changes! (Peter, that’s called
As the direct result of this system
we are observing that the Jalama fruit tends to have
more red fruit character and red toned aromatics, with
the emphasis on cherry and raspberry flavors.
An interesting secondary macro-climatic
influence is a giant eddy, a circulation of marine air
known as the Catalina Eddy, that is more pronounced
some years and less, others. This eddy begins rotating
offshore near the southern Channel Islands. When it
is kicking, it tends to keep the Jalama Vineyard buried
in fog until late morning, burning off to a warm day,
then billowing in like clockwork after 4 pm.
As air crosses the east-to-west oriented
mountain ranges north of Santa Barbara (just east of
Point Conception) and descends to the ocean, the pressure
on the air increases, causing it to warm dramatically.
As an indirect consequence of this warming, a region
of relatively low pressure develops in the lower atmosphere,
south or southwest of the east-to-west oriented coastline.
This warm, cloud-free region of relatively low pressure
offshore, draws cool marine air up the coast from the
south. The marine air, which is full of fog, then spirals
around the low pressure center, creating the eddy.
On those years when this coastal eddy
system is less pervasive, Jalama gets hotter in the
summer and there is less fog. Depending on winter rainfall
and ground water, we compensate by retaining a higher
ground cover, (grasses and forbs-a fancy name for weeds,)
to insulate the ground and reflect heat, Mother Nature
permitting of course!