Meet the Vintner: Mindego Ridge Vineyard
In anticipation of this year’s Silicon Valley Wine Auction, ESV sought out some of the participating vintners to learn about them, their wines and their involvement this year’s auction. Here, we caught up with Mindego Ridge owners and grape growers Dan and Stacey Gollnick. –Stacy Briscoe 3/20/2018
ESV: WHAT DOES THE NAME “MINDEGO” MEAN?
DG: Mindego, which rhymes with “indigo,” is named after the hill we’re on that used to be part of a farming town in the late 1800s. For us naming the project wasn’t about us, not about our name, it’s about the place that produces the fruit—which is the most important thing.
A thousand years from now, we’ll be gone. But hopefully someone will be there making beautiful wines.
ESV: WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS FOR YOUR VINEYARD AND WINERY?
DG: Ten to 15 years ago, Stacey and I were enjoying the local wines and noticed that those who were being more “progressive” in their winemaking were harvesting grapes a little earlier—before the fruit gets too overripe and when the acid is still a bit firmer. This was something that really set the Santa Cruz Mountains apart: the crisp, bright, energetic acid.
We really just fell in love with the region and thought, “Let’s work hard, save our money and see if there’s an opportunity.”
ESV: WHO ARE SOME OF THE WINERIES THAT INFLUENCED YOU?
DG: The wines from Varner, Thomas Fogarty and Rhys have all been awe-inspiring, and specifically the Rhys Alpine Vineyard wines were the inspiration that led us to develop our vineyard in the northwest region of our AVA.
ESV: WERE YOU ALWAYS INTERESTED IN MAKING WINE OR WERE YOU MORE INTERESTED IN GROWING AND SELLING GRAPES?
DG: At first we were really just into the farming part. We always had a vision of making great fruit and then find someone who wants to make the wine for us. So in 2013, we’d had a great network of colleagues and mentors and were introduced to Ehren Jordan (of Failla wines). He came down and toured the vineyard and agreed to make wine for us.
ESV: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES OF GRAPE GROWING IN THE SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS?
DG: One of the challenges to growing grapes in the Santa Cruz Mountains is finding a piece of viable land. Most of the area is covered in trees, or the slopes are too steep, and there’s limited access to water. We dry-farm now, but for the first five or six years you need a lot of water to get the plants started. There were no vines there when we first planted in 2009.
ESV: CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE WINES YOU’LL BE PRESENTING AT THIS YEAR’S AUCTION?
Mindego Ridge Vineyard 2015 Pinot Noir (302 cases produced)
This vintage the Pinot Noir was pressed with 50% whole clusters, and aged with just 25% new French oak, resulting in a Pinot with strong aromatics and a palate rich with fruit. It’s a medium-bodied red wine with assertive aromas of dark cherry, raspberry and tart plum, complemented by flavors of potpourri, anise, tar, smoke and black pepper, along with balanced oak and alcohol.
Food pairings: duck, mushroom risotto, taleggio
Mindego Ridge Vineyard 2015 Chardonnay (171 cases produced)
This vintage was whole-cluster-pressed directly into 15% new, 75% neutral French oak and 10% stainless steel, aged sur lie for 11 months. The result is a medium-bodied white wine with concentrated flavors and age-ability for up to three years. The wine presents aromas of yellow squash, melon, lemon curd, pineapple, lily and roasted nuts with flavors of ripe pear, Fuji apple, tangerine and honeydew melon.
Food pairings: lobster, sea bass, roast chicken, gruyere
Join in for the Grand Tasting at the Silicon Valley Wine Auction! For tickets and information, visit siliconvalleywineauction.org.