DeRose Vineyards sits quite literally atop the San Andreas Fault in Cienega Valley. It's credited with being the oldest existing winery in California by the acclaimed historian Charles Sullivan, and over 40 of its 100 acres of vines are from 100 to 150+ years old. Once part of the Almaden label, it was sold in the 1980s and eventually purchased by Pat De Rose and his partner Ernie Miller.
2007 'Sharknose' Chardonnay
Barrel fermented in just 10% new oak, this has a lemony, mineral nose. It's crisp and fruity; the oak barely shows at all.
While not seeing much more new oak, the regular Chardonnay does spend longer in barrel, resulting in a more 'rounded' wine. Notes of lemon, melon and apricot; sweeter fruit and less acidity with a long, pleasant finish.
2006 Cabernet Franc
Lots of earthy notes on the nose; underbrush and mushrooms. On the palate there's good blackberry fruit and big tannins, with tobacco on the finish.
Previously known as "Pinot St. George", Negrette comes from the south-west of France and is a direct descendent of a grape from Cyprus called Mavro. At over 150 years, these vines are some of the oldest in the state.
The wine has a dark colour in the glass, and an earthy, blackberry nose. There's heavy, sweet fruit and good tannins, reminiscent of a Petite Sirah.
Compared to the Negrette, the zinfandel vines are a sprightly 100 years old. This has a bright raspberry nose and good raspberry flavours; it's rich and concentrated with a long finish.
Hollywood Red, 12th release
This non-vintage wine is made in a Solera style, whereby the barrels contain a blend of the current and previous vintages, theoretically going back to the first. It's mainly Zinfandel plus six other grapes including "Rose of Peru", which it turns out is another name for 'Mission'.
Mature nose, but no sign of bricking in the glass. There's a rich core of raspberry fruit, but lots more and a long finish.