Santa Barbara County
The Santa Barbara County, located 1 1/2 hours north of Los Angeles, consists of 3 AVA's. Santa Rita Hills, Santa Maria Valley and Santa Ynez Valley, each providing distinctive characteristics based on variety and microclimate. The Labyrinth Pinot Noirs are sourced from the Santa Maria Valley AVA and its unique micro climate is derived from the inland flow of flog and cool ocean breezes which makes the regions one of the coolest viticultural areas in California. Degrees days measure 2200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Labyrinth Pinot Noirs from both the Santa Maria Valley and Yarra Valleys are produced as practically similar as is possible and this allows the footprint of the vineyard to be more prominent than the style of the wine maker. The key difference is clone and soil type. Grapes grown in Santa Maria Valley are on alluvial sandy gravel, relatively free draining and contribute more to the aromas of the wine than the clay dominant soils of the Yarra Valley.
The Paso Robles American Viticultural Area (AVA) is located halfway
between Los Angeles and San Francisco and covers a diverse
cross-section of microclimates from the cool ocean influenced west side
to the warmer, Mediterranean-like regions east of the town of Paso
Robles. The Paso Robles AVA has built an enviable reputation for
full-bodied, bold assertive wines. Rhone, Spanish and Bordeaux styles
The primary source of grapes for the Labyrinth HAKA wine program is French Camp Vineyard providing Merlot, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah and Tempranillo. The geographic location is the south-eastern section of the Paso Robles AVA surrounded by the Santa Lucia foothills. Daytime temperatures can reach 105 degrees Fahrenheit, but cool air from the Pacific Ocean can drop the air temperature by up to 50 degrees and allows grapes to optimally ripen with retained acids.
The Yarra Valley, located approximately 50 kilometers (30 miles) north east of Melbourne, Australia, is recognized for producing some of the finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Australia. It also holds the distinction of being Victoria's oldest wine region, originally planted in 1838. The outbreak of phyloxera, the global depression of the 1930's, and changing consumer tastes resulted in the last winery closing in 19378. The first of a new generation of wineries was founded in 1963 and several wineries from the previous era re-opened. The Yarra Valley principal characteristics are its cool climate compared to the rest of Australia. January mean daytime temperatures average 19 degrees Centigrade (64 degrees Fahrenheit) and average rainfall measures 1000mm (40 inches) of which 550mm (22 inches) falls during the growing season. Degree days measure 2070 degrees Fahrenheit.
Labyrinth sources grapes from 2 vineyards located on the northern side of the valley which favors clay loam to red-brown clay subsoil, generally higher in acid and low fertility. Grapes grown on these soils, and Labyrinth picks in particular, show earthy, minerally, damp earth characters. Labyrinth yields are kept very low and fruit is picked earlier to preserve the bright red fruit flavors and higher natural acidity which extend the cellaring ability of Labyrinth Pinot Noirs.
For more information about the Yarra Valley, see their Yarra Valley Wine Growers Association website.