The Vineyards

The Livermore Valley is one of the finest areas in the world for growing Cabernet Franc. As temperatures increase in Napa and Sonoma, due to climate change, these growing areas become less suitable for the production of complex Bordeaux varieties. One of the major factors contributing to the Livermore Valley's viticultural excellence is the wind that comes through practically every afternoon. Warming temperatures in the Central Valley bring cool air from the Bay through Livermore earlier in the day each subsequent year; this increase in wind serves to lengthen the growing season (as vines close down and stop photosynthesizing when it is too windy), allowing earlier ripening varieties like Cabernet Franc to reach a pinnacle of quality. Long term, we believe these climactic changes will allow Livermore to own the grape while other areas become too warm to maximize quality.

Ghielmetti Vineyard

Ghielmetti Vineyard is a 64-acre site tucked away on the corner of Reuss and Tesla Roads in the upper Livermore Valley.  Situated on a sloped, alluvial bench with well-draining, shaly loam soils from the surrounding hillsides, this vineyard produces some of the finest Cabernet Franc grown in California.  Planted over the course of two years in 2001-2002 by well-known Napa consultants Jim Regusci and Cary Gott, the vineyard is home to 10 different grape varieties organized into 19 separate blocks.

Ghielmetti Vineyard is roughly rectangular in shape but tends to flow downward from all sides toward an arroyo that runs through the estate from north to south. The vineyard is topographically varied, ranging in elevation from 500 to almost 1000 feet above sea level. Within the site itself are a number of undulating blocks that provide different exposures to sun and wind. The vineyard was laid out specifically to take advantage of these changes in elevation and the six different soil types comprising the site.  The varieties and rootstocks were carefully selected to match the micro-terroir.

Ghielmetti Vineyard became our predominant fruit source for Cabernet Franc in 2005.  The lone block of Cabernet Franc is 3.7 acres planted to Bordeaux Clone 332.

Sachau Vineyard

Situated 610 feet above sea level about one mile south of the winery, this 200-acre vineyard is planted on rolling hills of predominantly loamy, well-draining soil. Sachau is home to all five of the classic Bordeaux varieties. The lone block of Cabernet Franc comprises 6 acres and is planted to UCD clone 5.
 
L’Autre Côte’s first vintage of fruit was harvested in 2017, the finest vintage in the first 25 years of Steven’s career. Ripening about 7-10 days earlier than Ghielmetti (the wind effects are more significant at Ghielmetti, 4 miles to the east), the fruit at Sachau tends to produce wines with dark color and relatively subdued herbal tones. Sachau, in a very general way, resembles the Cabernet Franc one would expect in Right Bank Bordeaux blends while Ghielmetti expresses the purity of fruit and herb (bay and sage) reminiscent of the Loire Valley.

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