' Storybook Mountain - Have Clay, Face East
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Have Clay, Face East

Have Clay, Face East

Grands Echezeaux, Clos Vougeot, Château Pétrus, Château Latour and STORYBOOK MOUNTAIN..share clay and face in an easterly direction. Clay? The heaviest and most moisture laden of all the soils? East? and not the warmth generated by southern or southwestern exposures?

The Aiken series clay soils of Storybook Mountain are relatively rare in the Napa Valley, found in less than two percent of the county. Volcanic in origin, they are particularly rich in manganese and iron which, with organic materials, accounts for the red color. Rich in calcium as well, with ratios of calcium to magnesium 4:1 and up, our soils compare well with the best vineyard soils, increasing the vine's ability to absorb potassium, a crucial element in fruit quality.

Equally important is that these soils are on a hillside. Given the water retentive nature of clay, without the slope, vines would soon become water logged, inhibiting or even killing root development in wet years. Thanks to the good drainage our hills provide, saturation quickly gives way to a gradual, steady diminishing of moisture. This encourages root development drawing the roots down as the soil slowly dries out in the warmth of summer, yet allowing enough retained moisture to provide increased uptake of nutrients by the vines. The result? There is an added degree of richness and intensity to grapes grown in these types of soils, plus an enhancement of the spicy character of grapes such as Zinfandel, and in the resulting wines a greater complexity, even a slight hint of minerals. The intensity and depth of these wines provide the potential for graceful ageability.

previous article: Why Zinfandel?
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