Ron Siletto, a longtime icon of San Benito Viticulture, is the primary source of Cabernet Pfeffer in San Benito County, where the variety is grown, and nowhere else in the world. In France it’s known as Mourtaou/Mancin, an old variety from Bordeaux. There are less than 10 acres of it in the world.
The grapes were picked by hand on September 24th, 2021. At the winery the grapes were given 15 days of whole cluster maceration in redwood fermenters to extract tannins, aroma, and flavor compounds in the skins via once daily pumpovers. About one third of the crop was destemmed. After pressing and settling, the wine was racked into old barrels for 10 months elevage on fine lees. Racked to tank a month prior to bottling we ever use is sulfur. Bottled August 13th, 2022. 260 cases produced.
Brix at harvest: 22.0
Titratable Acidity: 6.5 g/L
Residual Sugar: 0.0 g/L
It's our belief that authentic wine is a direct reflection of the specific patch of earth it comes from. This ethos drives us to work with the most unique and rugged vineyards found on the central coast. These special sites have a story to tell unlike any other. We have two simple goals that direct every operation above all else: to present the narrative of the growing season in a delicious and transparent format, and to craft a wine with a strong foundation intended to age for decades. The fundamentals that we follow are old-school; we work with the seasons. We spend the majority of our time working in the vineyards, with our harvest season spent between monitoring natural fermentations to picking grapes and the overtime hours dedicated to fixing broken gear. Every year is unique, so the vineyard and cellar practices evolve annually to adapt to the changes each season brings forth. These simple methods require thoughtful, timely decision making, detailed work, and the patience to allow the wine to evolve at its own pace. The results are singular, authentic wines that represent a region, a site, and are a piece of living California history.
The path to becoming a winemaker was not at all clear, though my interests as a youngster helped stir the pot in that direction. I grew up in Contra Costa County, California, which is far more famous for housing subdivisions than for wine grapes. I spent my time exploring the “outdoors” which consisted of exploring the foothills of Mt. Diablo, fishing in the San Pablo bay, and gardening with my grandma. My interests in food developed with a job as a dishwasher for a culinary school during my summer breaks in high school. My focus on wine was sparked because of my wrestling (when you are deprived of food, you tend to dream about it…)
I chose to go to Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo because it had a great wrestling team and Cal Poly offered a degree in Wine and Viticulture. I shifted to focus on academics in lieu of athletics after a few seasons, as my interests escalated into minors in soil science, sustainable agriculture and plant protection science. My first internship was at Saucelito Canyon Winery in Arroyo Grande, CA where I learned to work with ancient, dry-farmed vines. Not far from Saucelito Canyon, I met my mentor, Justin Willett of Tyler Winery, while rock climbing in remote Santa Barbara County. This chance meeting led to a four year endeavor as the assistant winemaker at both Tyler and Lieu Dit Winery. In between harvests at Tyler, I traveled to work abroad in Margaret River, Western Australia and in Austria (Wachau, Weingut Tegernseerhof) before moving up north to work for the classic Santa Cruz Mountain winery Thomas Fogarty. Stirm Wine Co. is now located in southern Santa Cruz County near Watsonville; central between the key appellations we work with.