Think a western-style, boutique winery…that’s Miramar. Our gentle, small-scale equipment allows us to ferment and age vineyard-lot of wine separately. This way we can focus on nurturing the personality of section of grapes through fermentation and aging.
After gentle pressing, we cold-ferment the juice in our small, temperature-controlled, stainless steel tank to capture the vibrant fruit expression. Gary uses both native and cultured yeast strains for fermentation, to enhance vineyard expression and add layers of complexity.
Each red grape variety is destemmed and lightly crushed into its own one-ton, open-top fermentor. The square fermentors allow a large surface area for ideal skin contact, which we augment with twice daily punch-downs. This technique mixes the skins (from which the wine gets flavor, tannin and color) back down into the fermenting wine after the bubbles of carbon dioxide, produced by the yeast, have pushed them to the top.
Gary prefers to begin the fermentations slowly with native yeast for complexity, and then he inoculates with a stronger cultured yeast—if he deems it necessary—to ferment the wine dry. He also presses the wine at the end of fermentation, rather than allowing extended maceration, to take accentuate the wine’s fruity, more approachable style.
After the young wines are pressed in the gentle, one-ton bladder press, Gary transfers the wine into French and American oak barrels for aging. For all the red wines, as well as the Chardonnay, Gary prefers French oak barrels from Nadalie and François Frères Cooperages, and American oak barrels from Canton Cooperage. He chooses medium to medium-plus toast level, which tends to bring out more baking spice and vanillin characteristics of the oak. To judicially balance the fruit and oak character of each wine, Gary will choose the percentage of new oak and the length of barrel aging (one to two years.)