Catie's Corner is a vineyard widely admired for its Viognier and Pinot Noir, but we have discovered it is a lovely place to grow Grenache Blanc as well. Our affection for this vineyard began years before we started our winery, but its small size and demand among vintners meant some years would pass before we could produce our first Viognier from this remarkable vineyard in 2009. Prior to this, we produced our Viognier from another outstanding location in the Russian River Valley: the Wedding Hill block at Saralee's Vineyard. Catie is the daughter of Saralee, so these vineyards actually have more in common than first meets the eye.
Catie's Corner is located in the middle to slightly northern section of the Russian River Valley. Our small blocks of Viognier, Grenache Blanc, and Pinot Noir all have a gently rolling profile with predominantly Huichica loam soil. One of the most important qualities about this site for each of our wines is the consistent cycle of gentle warming and cooling that occurs most days, often the result of foggy mornings and evenings. This cycle of warming and cooling preserves attractive natural acidity and leads to a lengthier period of ripening during which flavors and aromas can develop gradually and with greater depth and complexity.
The beautifully fragrant and voluptuous attributes typical of this vineyard make the wines here well deserving of a vineyard-designate bottling, but we also find the Viognier to be a wonderful complement to some of our other wines. Viognier often has had a supportive role in our Roussanne, and sometimes in our Syrah. Producing Syrah with just a touch of Viognier is a traditional technique exemplified in the wines of the Côte Rôtie in the Northern Rhône. We usually harvest this vineyard at various points in September, depending on the varietal.