Heller Estate Vineyard:
Overlooking the Cachagua region of Carmel Valley, ("Cachagua" is believed to be an Indian derivative of the French "cacher" and the Spanish "agua" - "hidden waters"), and framed by the dramatic surrounding hills, lie the beautiful mountain vineyards of the Heller Estate Organic Vineyards. The 120 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Noir are pl... Read more
Overlooking the Cachagua region of Carmel Valley, ("Cachagua" is believed to be an Indian derivative of the French "cacher" and the Spanish "agua" - "hidden waters"), and framed by the dramatic surrounding hills, lie the beautiful mountain vineyards of the Heller Estate Organic Vineyards. The 120 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Noir are planted at an altitude of 1200 - 1500 feet, producing rich, luscious grapes, which result in outstanding premium wines. The vineyards are essentially dry-farmed, the roots of the vines descending deep in the loamy, sandy soil in search of the underground "Cachagua" springs. These stressed vines produce outstanding luscious fruit, which are then skillfully crafted into the extraordinary Cabernets that have been described by wine reviewers as "super-rich, with lots of tannin and explosively long finishes". The Chardonnays are reviewed as "dramatic, blockbuster wines which are rich, exceptionally age worthy, and can easily last 5-7 years - an uncommonly long time for a California Chardonnay" The vineyards are certified 100% organic. Neither herbicides nor pesticides are used in the production of the grapes. This certification was granted after three vintages of clean farming, although the vineyards have always employed organic methods throughout the years. In 1994, the vineyard was sold to a group of European investors, who immediately set about upgrading the winery and buildings; new vineyards were planted and new French Oak barrels purchased to age the wines. Rich Tanguay, formerly of Topolos & Buena Vista, is the winemaker overseeing the production of these award-winning wines. Now renamed "Heller Estate Organic Vineyards", the wines are all estate bottled and, as stated above, organically produced. The current production is approximately 25,000 cases annually. The vineyards are planted on sandy, clay loamy soils and despite the altitude the area is very warm and free from frost. The great variation in daily temperatures (which are sometimes 40 degrees in one twenty four hour period) helps to produce these exceptional age-worthy and full-bodied wines. The original vineyards were planted in 1968, and the first wines were produced in 1976. The late William Durney of Los Angeles and his wife Dorothy, a screenwriter, did the first plantings and in 1982 the Carmel Valley Appellation denomination was approved by the authorities in 1983. A sculpture garden has been added to the property, as well as another adjacent to the tasting room in Carmel Valley Village. The sculptures, which are created by Toby Heller, internationally known sculptor of large works, are the inspiration for the labels. For example, the label, "Dances on Your Palate" is based on a fifteen-foot high, bronze sculpture overlooking the vineyards, and the motto "Magical Wines That Dance on Your Palate " is featured on the label. Read less
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