Q&A with Doug Margerum, Winemaker of La Encantada Estate:
Q. How would you describe the winemaking style? A. It all begins in the vineyard. Working with one of the finest farming teams in the county we are able to pick certified organic grapes that are perfectly ripe without excessive sugars, consistent cluster size & color, and flavorful grapes. The fruit is sorted as we fill the picking bins and then grapes are sorted on our sorting table. We make the wine in our cold winery in small open top fermenters. The key is long cool, low extraction fermentation done in small 4 hectoliter open top fermenters. After a cold soak in our cold room we ferment for a long seven to fourteen days, before pressing the tank to settle for a day and then it is put in barrel for malolactic fermentation in barrel. The resulting wine is balanced, clean, leaner, bright, and delicate. And age worthy.
Q. La Encantada Estate is focused on balanced wines that showcase the amazing terroir. How does the winemaking bring those characters out? A. The key is to not let the fruit get too ripe – that is where you lose the “place” where it is grown. We utilize the vineyards unique growing environment by letting the native yeasts do the fermenting resulting in more complex flavors and aromas. Because of this, the terroir is evident throughout the various clones.
Q. Please explain the fermentation methodology. A. Simplicity is key! We handle the grapes with our hands, and that helps us to understand what is happening during fermentation. By using small vessels to ferment we are able to control the temperature of fermentation with ambient temperature in the winery. They are punched down 2-4 times daily by hand and that close exposure allows us to smell and taste the ferments. Feeling the heat being produced helps us to better understand where the wine is in its evolution. Lab numbers are good too, but using our senses is best. Maturation in barrel is essential for the wines of La Encantada Estate. The wine needs gentle oxidation to loosen up its tight core structure. We use some whole cluster depending on lignification of the stems, which helps to build lush but structured tannins along with the young grape tannins, and some tannin from new wood.