Donati Family Winery for Why Not Wednesday
It’s no secret Italians have a love for the vine in their blood – Ron Donati is no different. In 1998 when he purchased the Paicines property his vision was for his son, Matt Donati, to grow high quality, unique grapes from the 9th oldest AVA in California. Soon, after rave reviews of the fruit, Ron Donati (ever the business man) got to thinking… good grapes make great wine. Thus is born Donati Family Vineyard.
As a young boy, Ron Donati grew up in South San Francisco, the son of a first generation Italian-American family. One of his fondest memories was the sights and smells of his grandfather making wine in his basement. Like most Italian immigrants, Albino Donati made his own wine for the family dinner table. As an adult, Ron became a successful entrepreneur with a penchant for making quality products that were attainable to all, not just a select few. This same passion serves as the foundation and guiding mission of Donati Family Vineyard today.
In 2003 the Donatis produced Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Meritage, and Claret, Chardonnay, and Pinot Blanc. The family held these in bottle until 2005 when they started hand selling the product to great restaurants, and boutique wine shops. The Donatis ears were burning with positive reviews and re-orders from our customers. We had so many requests from the public to get their hands on this wine – we couldn’t turn them down. Though Paicines offers a lovely home for our grapes, with a population of 204 – it’s not the best place for a Tasting Room, so we chose Templeton, CA (right outside of Paso Robles) for our new home. The Donati Family Estate Vineyard site enjoys a variety of soils from limestone to decomposed granite to clay loam, and access to the cooling ocean breezes of the Monterey Bay. Like much of southern Napa, Sonoma, and Monterey counties, Paicines has long warm days followed by cool nights.
The vineyard is planted to various select clones of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Syrah, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc and Petit Verdot. Vine selections are carefully screened for viral diseases prior to planting, ensuring that the future of the vineyard is secure, and that vine health and fruit integrity remain intact from planting through harvest.
The Donatis believes in hands-on year-round vineyard management to create an environment where the grapes themselves can be left alone to thrive during ripening. Regular, judicious thinning of shoots during the growing season, attention to every detail of vine canopy training and light management within the fruiting zone, pre and post-veraison green fruit removal, along with scientific analysis of soil and leaf moisture throughout the growing season ensures that every aspect of the Donati Estate viticultural program contributes to the success of the vintage.
Primary efforts are directed at sustainable farming, allowing for natural predators and reduced use of pesticides to provide a clean, hospitable environment for vine growth and fruit maturation. Of course, this path of action requires extreme diligence in scouting for possible problems. But, with active personnel regularly hand-tending each and every vine, the family is gradually learning that effective and efficient sustainable practices can indeed make a significant difference in both the local environment and in the ultimate grape and wine quality.
Once the grapes arrive at the winery they are again inspected for quality. For our white wine program a whole cluster press is used to extract the juice. After a gentle pressing, the juice is immediately transferred to stainless steel fermenters for a 24 hour cold settling. The white juice will ferment for approximately 30 days, yielding no residual sugar. Post primary fermentation the whites are fined and filtered before being botted the following spring to preserve the aromatic qualities in each variety.
Red grapes are de-stemmed and pumped directly into the fermentation tanks. Utilizing both static and open top fermenters in our program. During fermentation the must is allowed to reach temperatures up to 85F to extract the intense color and flavors the Donati wines are known for. The red varietals will ferment for 7-10 days, then the wine is racked to another tank and the remaining skins, seeds, and pulp is gently pressed.
The aging process for our red wines begins in a combination of both French and American oak barrels from a select group of coopers. The red wines are barrel aged for 12-18 months. During this time, a continuous sensory assessment of each lot gives us the ability to designate the premium lots for our higher-end wines. When those lots are selected the wine is racked and blended and stored in barrels until bottling. The red wines are bottled un-fined and unfiltered to preserve natural flavors and aromas the grape varietals have to offer.
Sisters Forever Chardonnay 2016 :: $17.00 sale $15.00
This wine offers tropical and citrus aromas, having a soft creamy mid palate and a delectable crisp finish.
Cabernet Franc 2014 :: $25.00 sale $22.00
With aromas of Boysenberry and dark chocolate, this wine is Cab Franc in its truest form. Dark berry fruit and rich tannins give the wine a rich fullness and round it out with moderate acids.
Pinot Blanc :: $19.00 sale $17.00
Sourced from the oldest blocks on the estate. Notes of honeydew melon and banana, light and crisp.
Ezio 2014 :: $35.00 sale $31.00
The Donati flagship Bordeaux Blend, named after Ezio Donati, the first born Donati in the New World. Rich aromatics of black cherry and earth, with lingering cherry and toast on the palate.
We start sippin’ and tastin’ at 4pm. Hope you can make it! Tag your pics #pickitupatpearl and #Neverabadbottle so we can CHEERS!
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