• April 2024

    Dear Friends,

    Spring is here!  After an interminable number of rainy days, we finally have had a week (or more) of sunshine daily.  We surely need the rain in California, and I am very grateful to get a typical wet season.  But I miss the sunshine, and it could not have come at a better time.  The rain is excellent; it soaks into the soil, sustaining the thirsty vines throughout the year.  Sunshine in March, following the wet winter, is ideal, just as the young vines are waking up from their winter dormancy.  All in all, a great start to 2024.

    Spring is also when we focus on bottling the wines from earlier vintages.  This year, we will be bottling many Pinot Noirs from 2022 and NIRVANA from 2021.  All the big reds to be bottled, Nicholson Ranch Merlot and Syrah, and Gulrajani Super-Tuscans and Cabernets are from 2021.  Two parallel tracks are essential for bottling.  The first is what is in the bottle, the wine itself, which is both a sensory and an immersive experience.  The second, much more mundane and prosaic, is the glass bottle and the packaging.

    Let us get to the wine.  I taste every barrel to ensure the quality of each barrel and to select barrels to reserve for NIRVANA.  Tasting wine from barrels is one of the favorite parts of my role as a winemaker.  Besides the wine tasting great, the work completely absorbs my attention, letting me forget about all other concerns.  Going from barrel to barrel, I am so grateful for what each barrel does to the wine.  The barrel, as you know, adds aroma and flavor and, more subtly, adds texture and body.  A wine not aged in a barrel can have great fruit and floral aromas.  A wine flavored with oak (essence, powder, or oak chips) will show vanilla, toast, and spice. However, only true barrel aging will transform the texture and integrate the fruit and oak flavors to create a sensory experience of smell, taste, and texture, from the bouquet to the mouthfeel to the finish.  Only patient barrel aging can make a great wine that will go beyond the sensory experience and spark emotions of joy, contentment, and nostalgia.

    Now for the nuts and bolts of getting the wine into bottles and planning the bottling.  After ordering the bottles, foils, labels, and corks, I ensure the bottling truck has been reserved and confirmed well in advance. I measure and check order quantities not just twice but three times.  Fortunately, the agony and stress of supply-chain problems are mostly behind us.  Getting ready for bottling is stressful enough. Better planning leads to bottling the wine without heat and oxygen exposure, which would diminish the quality.  I aim to open a freshly bottled wine and feel the same emotions of joy and contentment that I get tasting the wine from barrels.  

    This wine release includes the 2020 NIRVANA, a wine aged for three years in French oak barrels, and sure to evoke strong emotions with the first whiff of its aromas.  A detailed description is below.  


    Deepak Gulrajani
    Winemaker / Owner
    Nicholson Ranch