While winemaking styles come and go, Winemaker Marco DiGiulio professes that trends are not a part of his vocabulary. “My intent is to make wine that respects the vineyard and in doing so, cultivate long-term interest in our brand.” Girard’s newest release - a 2002 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon - delivers world-class value by retailing at $60 though most of the 375-case production finds its way onto lists at fine hotels and restaurants.
Vintner Pat Roney, an industry veteran who revived the Girard label, credits their elegant, powerful wines to the soil and DiGiulio’s commitment to crafting classically-styled wines that don’t rely on bells and whistles to garner attention.
With the 2003 vintage recently bottled and intended for a Spring 2006 release, and the 2005 harvest shaping up nicely, DiGiulio now has four years of Pritchard Hill production under his belt and a new partnership with Silverado Farming Company as a factor in creating his signature style. Girard’s cabernet - clonal material originally sourced from Bordeaux – is another key factor in the quality and expression of the new release.
Pritchard Hill is home to some of the most high-profile ‘cult’ wines of recent years and the jury is starting to weigh in on the ability of those wines to age gracefully. Joe Zugelder, library buyer for K & L Wine Merchants had this to say, “Over-muscular, fruit-bowl cabs are coming up too soft and, on the whole, they are not evolving.” He’s careful to note that while many flagship wines are a disappointment, wineries are producing single-vineyard releases and second labels that are true values.
In hindsight, Zugelder admits that he took a gamble on cult wines and has lived to regret it.
“We were very optimistic early on and we’ve followed them closely. Many collectors are
now purging wines made in this style from their collections.”
Lesson learned: “It’s refreshing to see winemakers and winery owners sticking to their beliefs about style and making wine in the image of the vintage.” sites Zugelder.
Overlooking the coveted eastern slopes of Pritchard Hill, Pat Roney has a lot to smile about. The notoriety of Girard’s terroir practically insures that his wines won’t go overlooked and adhering to
a style that guarantees longevity makes the day-to-day business of building a brand that much more enjoyable.
Pritchard Hill is home to some of the most high-profile ‘cult’ wines of recent years
Pat Roney enjoys Girard’s view of Sage Canyon
Photo (no caption) Girard label