The Wines of Clay Shannon
|Course||Pairing / Description||Wine|
Passion Fruit Marinated and Seared Tuna Over Wonton Crisp and Mango Salsa
Peach, Prosciutto and Brie Mini Croque Monsieur
Clay Shannon’s passion is simple. Grow the best fruit possible, while preserving the land for future generations. For Clay, sustainability is not just a philosophy, it’s a way of life. Each year they pick out the most balanced and lip smacking Sauvignon Blanc on the property, and every year Betsy's Vineyard Block 2A is it! It’s north slope and Franciscan soils provide an excellent combination for growing Clone 1 Sauvignon Blanc on 3309 Rootstock. Leaf suckering, cover crop mowing and composting are all managed by the sheep, guarded by the Great Pyranees dogs The wine is fermented in stainless tanks and took 240 gallons (10%) to age it in French/Acacia, light toast hybrid barrels. This creates an added layer of texture and enhances floral characteristics. Harvested in early September, this wine has aromas of white peach, lime rind and fresh herbs, balancing the intriguing flavors of gooseberry, stone fruit, and wet river stones.
|Clay Shannon Sauvignon Blanc 2018
Baby Arugula Salad with Fresh Figs, Goat Cheese, Spicy Toasted Almond and Sweet Vidalia Vinaigrette
Clay Shannon's single vineyard collection is fruit from Betsy Vineyard, located in the High Valley AVA on Home Ranch. This North slope, 75-acre vineyard is named in honor of Clay’s mother. An El Nino weather pattern brought a wet winter and spring to California’s North Coast in 2017. A heat spike in June advanced the white grapes and prompted a harvest in late August. Once the whites were in, cooler weather set in, and gave a delayed start to the red grape harvest two weeks later. Overall the crop came in a little lighter than usual. 95% of the fruit was picked when the fires broke out in Sonoma, Napa and Lake Counties, one blaze coming within 1 mile of the Home Ranch. Close call! Typical of High Valley fruit, the grapes from Betsy’s vineyard and Caldwell Block 12 are powerful, yet complex and the base for High Valley Cabernet. Named in memory of Clay’s mother, Betsy’s vineyard has a northwest facing slope that allows longer ripening time, resulting in an intensely structured Cabernet. Using a majority of French oak, the barrels are chosen to lift the fruit and add nice toasted spices to the finish. The High Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is bold and complex. Subtle floral aromas are lifted by cherry and leather. The finish is bright and peppery, giving way to lingering fruit.
|High Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
Duck Confit over Smoked Gouda Polenta Cake and Roasted Shiitake Mushrooms
From the hillside vineyards of North Napa and High Valley in Lake County, this Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of the best of both counties (59% Napa, 41% Lake). Bright fruit, spice and all the tannin come from the higher elevations of Lake County, while the dark fruits, old world character, and dried herbs come from the lower elevations of Napa County. Coopered for 18 months in 83% French oak and 17% in American oak, 59% new, the marriage of these two wines creates tobacco, cherry and cassis aromas and flavors, with an impressive finish. 91 points, Wine Enthusiast.
|Clay Shannon Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
Cacao Braised Short Rib over Potato Galette and Mole Sauce
Ovis is the Latin word for sheep, and this small lot production pays homage to the sheep that help control the cover and weeds in the vineyards. The sheep and their guard dogs are the foundation of Clay’s sustainable forming practices. His love of protecting Mother Earth creates fertile lands that he and his family offer with pride. On the north slope of High Valley, on Franciscan soils, lies a small 2.7 acre block in Betsy’s Vineyard. The 30+ year old vines produce small clusters of best Petite Syrah grapes. The spring of 2016 resembled a sine wave of hot and cool days, with harvest starting the third week in August after the whites, a cool down allowed a brief respite, with reds starting to come in the first week of September. Late in the red harvest a deluge of rain left a fair amount of fruit still on the vine. The open clusters were hardy, and all were harvested by October 24th, concluding one of the longest and best harvests on record. The juice was coopered in a mix of new and 2-year old French oak for 28 months. The wine has aromas of ripe blueberries, plums, and blackberries with undertones of dark chocolate and tobacco. This is followed on the palate by flavors of dense fruit, dried herbs, warm spices and polished tannins. This wine was good on release, but can be cellared for at least 10 years. 93 points, Wine Enthusiast.
|Ovis Petite Syrah 2016
Poached Pear and Whipped Mascarpone Cheese
Tucked away at the lowest and coolest point of Red Hills vineyard grow a few clones of Chardonnay. They leave the coldest spot, most prone to frost for the most luscious Chardonnay they grow. Clone 04 does well in cool climates and volcanic soil. Leaf suckering, cover crop mowing, and composting are all diligently managed by the sheep. The 2018 Clay Shannon Chardonnay offers excellent persistence and richness on the palate, with ripe, apple and oaky notes in its aromas and flavors. Coopered in 10% new French oak, aromas of white peaches and Bartlett pears balance the intriguing flavors of citrus, toasted oak, and crème brulee.
|Clay Shannon Chardonnay 2018