March 19, 2021
Dear Friends of Shibumi Knoll,
This March is beautiful in the Napa Valley. There is an abundance of mustard blanketing the valley floor and there has even been snow on Mt. Saint Helena in the last few days. Green and yellow valley floor, bright blue sky, puffy white clouds and a snow-capped mountain view from my front door, the picture is stunning. This year we have hope again as we recover, rebuild and repair our spirits.
There are many of you that have been loyal Shibumi customers for years but there are many new fans that might not know the Shibumi story. I thought I’d take a moment to share a brief history of our little winery.
Many years ago, my late husband and I read the book Shibumi by Trevanian, which became one of our favorites: adventure, intrigue, romance, the book has it all. The book introduced us to the concept of Shibumi, a Japanese word describing a physical and emotional state which most nearly translates to “the pursuit of perfection though simplicity” or “Effortless Perfection”. Life on the knoll in a simple cottage surrounded by vineyards, canopied by majestic oaks and blessed with bucolic 360-degree views is truly one of perfection through simplicity. Shibumi Knoll Vineyards was born in 2003.
Our philosophy of Shibumi is central to our winemaking, where our goal is to produce beautifully balanced wines that truly express what the vineyards have to say.
There are three Shibumi varietals: Estate Cabernet from the knoll in Saint Helena, Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County and Pinot Noir from the Riddle Vineyard on the Sonoma Coast. All are made by Thomas Rivers Brown at the Tamber Bey winery in Calistoga.
The Shibumi Knoll Buena Tierra Chardonnay has proven to be among the best in the country. The 2005 vintage received a 97 from the Wine Spectator, tied for the highest score given to a California Chardonnay in the first decade of this century. As a young winery just starting out this put us on the map.
Our first vintage was in 2003. We discovered the Buena Tierra vineyard by meeting a vintner, Eugena Keegan, who bought chardonnay grapes from the Sonoma coast. She asked if we’d like to barrel taste the wine. The wine was stunning. She was moving to Oregon, so we approached the owner of Buena Tierra Vineyards on the Russian River in Sonoma County about buying the grapes. The owners were reluctant because the vines, at the time, were 35 years old and production was down. We offered to pay full production price for whatever grapes were harvested, an agreement that continues to this day.
Our current vintage is the 2018. The vines are 53 years old and are beautiful and thick with big, tight golden bunches of grapes. They are my babies and are truly loved. The yield for 2018 was 640 cases from a 2.4 acre-block. The alcohol is 13.9%, harvested 10/4/18, bottled 12/10/19, and aged 14 months in 35% new French oak.
BUENA TIERRA VINEYARD, RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY
This vintage of Chardonnay has a beautiful fresh feel. It’s well balanced with a sunshine citrus nose. The taste is of pineapple accents, apricot and nectarine essence. It coats your palate and warms your throat. The finish is long and lovely making you want more. This chardonnay is sophisticated with an adventurous spirit.
With love and gratitude,
Joann Serafini Ross
Proprietor, Shibumi Knoll Vineyards