QUELLA is the name for the wine from a 9-acre site located in the eastern hills overlooking the heart of the Napa Valley.
Making its debut with the 2006 vintage, the name is derived from the German word for a pristine source or an artesian aquifer. This property is steeply sloped facing southwest. The site is an ancient riverbed composed of cobble and rocks interwoven with pockets of tufa (volcanic ash) that were uplifted during the last volcanic activity in the area. Quella displays an almost ethereal quality of blue fruits, graphite, and a vibrant, subtle finish.
SOIL: Ancient uplifted riverbed covered with Tufa (volcanic ash). Southwest Exposure.
The harvest in 2008 was very different from the norm in Napa Valley. Mother Nature turned the year into a real thriller, which held producers in its grip from the start all the way until harvest time.
The year began in stormy conditions: the valley was buffeted by downpours and storm winds. These then gave way to an agonisingly long dry period. The spring’s rainfall only reached 60 per cent of the average, and went down in history as one of the driest springs in Napa Valley. Due to the mild and dry weather, the vines’ growing season started earlier than ever. The early sprouting was fateful, however, when the month-long dry period in the spring was followed by destructive sub-zero night-time temperatures. This was not just on a few isolated nights, but went on for a whole month. The long night-time frosts had a devastating effect on the sprouting vines, cutting harvests by up to one third.
During the long frost period, producers pulled out all of their tricks to protect the vines. Some vineyards in the valley have large fans, which were in intensive use throughout the spring. Areas that did not have fans used sprinklers for watering the vines so that the water would freeze onto the buds to shield them from the icy cold. The flowering season after the frosts was irregular and, due to uneven pollination, led to below-average harvests. The summer started off cool and remained so until late August. As a result, the grapes developed slowly and became intense and concentrated. In the late summer, ripening was accelerated by a one-week heat wave, which was followed by dry weather during the harvest. Although the harvest was smaller than usual, the grape quality was excellent.