WINEMAKING

Philosophy

The best wines are balanced wines that reveal the site, the variety, and the winemaking vision in a way that makes our wines memorable. We create wines that celebrate the lushness of California while maintaining a more acid-driven, tannic style that speaks of the Old World.  

Each block of fruit ripens at its own pace, and it is our job to harvest the fruit when it is at its most perfect. No matter if we ferment in stainless steel under heat or in an open-top plastic bin, the next crucial phase of winemaking involves the moment one separates the wine from the skins upon which it has been fermenting and macerating. The skins provide the flavor and structure to our wines so the day we press- an activity that cannot be undone – determines much of the age-worthiness, mouthfeel, and shape of the wines.

Our wines are then aged in 100% French oak barrels. The percentage of new oak to once or second-used barrel is dependent upon how much organoleptic contribution we think the wines need from wood. Generally, we use only 50-60% new barrel, believing

 that the aromas and flavors of fruit are much more delicious than those derived from wood.

We use oak for its contribution to the precise structure of our wines and are content to forego any nuance of oak flavor or aroma in the process.

Our blends are often elaborate, and they are made as early in the aging process as possible. We have found that the best, most complex and delicious blends are those that have ample time for each individual variety to marry harmoniously with its mates.

Consequently, about half-way through aging, individual barrels are chosen for their ability to add complexity and deliciousness to a final wine, racked into a blend tank then put back into oak for the second half of their elevage.

 

TEAM

6th Generation Winemaker, Steven K. Mirassou is a member of America’s oldest winemaking family. Six years before Abraham Lincoln was president, the Mirassou family was growing grapes and making wine in San Jose. After graduate school on the East Coast, Mirassou returned to California to start an eponymous brand, The Steven Kent Winery, with his father. They began their brand with one single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and one mission, to make a wine that would equal in quality of those made anywhere in California. 

7th Generation Assistant Winemaker, Aidan J. Mirassou was raised in San Jose, CA roaming the vineyards of the Livermore Valley with his father & 6th generation winemaker, Steven K. Mirassou. In early 2009, Aidan entered the hospitality side of the wine industry learning his way around the family business — from polishing glasses at the age of 16 years, to hosting wine tastings in The Cellar.  Today, Aidan leads the day-to-day operations of our wine production, standing next to his father as assistant winemaker, and a member of the seventh generation of the oldest winemaking family in North America. 

“To my way of thinking, [Steven Kent Mirassou is] not only the greatest winemaker in Livermore Valley, but one of the best in California, which means the world.”

– Esteemed Wine Writer, Steve Heimoff

Steven Kent Mirassou - Winemaker

Steven Kent Mirassou is the 6th-generation winemaker for The Lineage Collection located in the Livermore Valley. Steven has been making wine for his four separate brands since 1996 and regards his growing area as one of the finest in the world for Bordeaux varieties. Though Steven started out making Cabernet Sauvignon, he fell in love with the Loire Valley version of Cabernet Franc in the early 2000s. He regards this grape to be the sexiest, most alluring, most complex in the world.

The fact that the Livermore Valley is one of the finest areas in California to grow this grape makes the marriage between variety and obsession much more likely to succeed at a world-class quality level.  L’Autre Côte is a Cabernet Franc brand whose mission is to make single-vineyard wines from great sites that create emotional connections between the winemaker and the wine drinker and that highlight the unequaled elegance and complexity of this grape.

“To my way of thinking, [Steven Kent Mirassou is] not only the greatest winemaker in Livermore Valley, but one of the best in California, which means the world.”

– Esteemed Wine Writer, Steve Heimoff

Steven Kent Mirassou - Winemaker

Steven Kent Mirassou is the 6th-generation winemaker for The Lineage Collection located in the Livermore Valley. Steven has been making wine for his four separate brands since 1996 and regards his growing area as one of the finest in the world for Bordeaux varieties. Though Steven started out making Cabernet Sauvignon, he fell in love with the Loire Valley version of Cabernet Franc in the early 2000s. He regards this grape to be the sexiest, most alluring, most complex in the world.

The fact that the Livermore Valley is one of the finest areas in California to grow this grape makes the marriage between variety and obsession much more likely to succeed at a world-class quality level.  L’Autre Côte is a Cabernet Franc brand whose mission is to make single-vineyard wines from great sites that create emotional connections between the winemaker and the wine drinker and that highlight the unequaled elegance and complexity of this grape.

Vineyards

Lineage | Livermore Valley is a wine of beauty, complexity, and balance. Each vintage we harvest fruit from a number of superlative vineyards in our AVA then do only as much as is necessary in the winery to shepherd that fruit on its journey to world-class wine.

Livermore Valley’s First Luxury Tasting Salon

We source fruit from six of the finest vineyards in the Livermore Valley. Each of these sites is farmed impeccably, and each provides special fruit with balance and complexity. The Ghielmetti Vineyard, in the eastern foothills of the Livermore Valley, provides Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. Sachau Vineyard, in the middle of the appellation, grows spectacular Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. From Lencioni Vineyard and Smith Ranch on the western end of the appellation, Casa de Viñas, and our estate Home Ranch Vineyard in the center, multiple clones of Cabernet Sauvignon are harvested.
     We regard Lineage as an exotic, beautiful creature. Each year this creature takes on a different shape, and each variety plays a crucial role in its apotheosis. Cabernet Sauvignon provides the skeleton, adding the structure upon which the flesh of Merlot, the nervous system (and sex appeal) of Cabernet Franc, and the exotic coloring of Petit Verdot sit. We approach each vintage as its own singular event. While we start with a vision for the wine based upon preliminary tasting of barrels throughout elévage, it is only through many months of evaluation and scores of mock blends that we arrive at what we believe to be the finest possible version of Lineage for that year. After the selected barrels of each variety are chosen (we declassify more than 90% of these lots) and the blend is made, Lineage is rebarreled and aged in approximately 50% new French oak for an additional 6-8 months.
     We believe the Livermore Valley to be one of the finest growing areas in the world for the varieties that make Lineage.
     We are committed to make one wine from this appellation that can be compared to the finest wines in the world.

Great wines come only from great vineyards. Every vineyard site that is great enough to be included in our wine produces fruit with very specific structural and organoleptic characteristics. In the final blend, each plays an indispensable role in the beauty, depth, complexity, and elegance of Lineage | Livermore Valley.

Ghielmetti Vineyard

With eight clones of Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot, Ghielmetti Vineyard is the largest contributor to the final blend of Lineage. This site has been part of the Lineage blend since the first vintage and adds elegance and generosity to the final blend.

Home Ranch

Planted to the heritage Concannon clone of Cabernet Sauvignon – the Home Ranch – our oldest site, produces a wine with a matrix of flavors and aromas unlike any other site we use. In the best of years, this wine is replete with dense, black fruit and a silky yet rich mouthfeel that contributes to the length of finish and overall structural integrity of Lineage.

Lencioni Vineyard

Planted to two Bordeaux clones (337 & 191) of Cabernet Sauvignon, this unique, horseshoe-shaped site produces fruit with complex herbal notes of sage and bay leaf and a fine-grained tannic structure that lends a sense of elegance and age-worthiness.

Sachau Vineyard

Located in the rolling hills a mile south of the Winery, this site which is planted to Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon clones 337 and Concannon 8, produces black-fruited wines of wonderful density and elaborate aromatics.

Smith Ranch

One of the more westerly-oriented Cabernet Sauvignon sites we use, the Concannon clone 8 here produces the most structurally focused and tannic wines in our portfolio. We have made single-vineyard wines from this site since 2002 and it has been part of the Lineage blend in practically every release.

Casa de Viñas

Located in the rolling hills a mile south of the Winery, this site which is planted to Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon clones 337 and Concannon 8, produces black-fruited wines of wonderful density and elaborate aromatics.