Sometimes, a wine speaks to me. A wine like Fathers + Daughters Cellars.
My dad and I have always been close.
As a young girl, he showed me the stars, chased toads with me and woke up when I had a nightmare to make me warm milk and let me “talk it out”.
As a teenager, he listened to me.
We went on road trips.
We sang at the top of our lungs to old country songs.
As an adult, I came to understand that a father does his very best to love and protect you, as I am now attempting to do with my own children.
It was when my own father became a grandpa and I saw him interacting with my children, that I saw my dad, a gentle soul, blossom into a nurturing and affectionate being; someone perhaps righting all the wrongs from his role as a father.
An example of the love and patience only a grandparent can possess.
Last July my dad retired.
He gussied up his place to sell and was ready to cross things off his bucket list.
Climb Mount Kilimanjaro, ski endlessly all over the world and live life.
In May this year, I visited him in Utah.
He was buying a piece of lakefront property not too far from my brother.
He said, “It’s hard to believe I’d be on the East Coast, but we’ll all be together.”
He closed on the house, and a few days later, my dad was diagnosed with Leukemia.
Both would be game-changers.
By June we were underway with the home remodel.
One thing has led to another.
A small project has become a mountain.
It’s down to the bare-bones currently, and the plan is to have him moved in by Christmas.
His bucket list has to be rebuilt.
He doesn’t have the strength or stamina to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, nor skin endlessly.
Right now, his bucket list is sitting on his porch, watching the leaves morph from summer green to fall colors over the lake.
Sarah Schoeneman understands the next chapter of a father’s life.
In 1996, she helped her father, Kurt Schoeneman, begin his.
She searched Northern California for a perfect piece of land for her father to grow grapes.
The search ended at a parcel in the Anderson Valley that had been allowed to go fallow—the Ferrington vineyard.
This new chapter in her father’s life, with the fruit from this vineyard built a reputation for growing premium quality grapes, achieving an almost cult-like status.
Lauded wineries such as Flowers and Arista, Williams-Selyem and Schramsberg were producing wines made from Ferrington Fruit.
This reputation is rooted in Pinot Noir with vineyard-designate Pinots produced from Ferrington fruit consistently receiving 90+ points by wine reviewers.
A less well-known is the fact that the vineyard also contains a block of 40-year-old Sauvignon Blanc vines whose fruit yields a wine with decidedly tropical notes.
The storied Ferrington Vineyard began a collaborative and multigenerational effort of the “fathers and daughters” in their family: Patriarch Kurt Schoeneman, his daughter Sarah, Sarah’s husband Guy Pacurar, their daughter, Ella, and Guy’s older daughter, Taylor.
The harvest of the first vintage in 2012, coincided with the birth of Sarah and Guy’s daughter, Ella.
In fact, at just 8 weeks old and awake at 4 am, Ella joined them in the field as they sorted the Pinot fruit being dumped into bins.
To mark this event, Fathers & Daughters approached a winemaker noted for crafting Pinots that can be cellared and as a result, talented winemaker Phil Baxter of Baxter Wines agreed to oversee the production of the wines for the label.
This was the Inaugural Release released by Fathers & Daughters, aptly named Ella’s Reserve Pinot Noir.
Much like wine, relationships mature and evolve over time, and the relationship between a father and daughter, like the fruit from the Ferrington vineyard, is both singular and special.
This collaboration is a labor of love with the ultimate goal being the production of small quantities of fine wine and the creation of a legacy business that can be passed down through the generations.
I gravitate towards the name: Fathers & Daughters.
To me, it rekindles in my soul the memories my dad and I have made together.
The memories are still unwritten.
In my wine cooler, I have three bottles of Fathers & Daughters wine.
I’m saving two for celebrating with my dad.
The Ella’s Reserve Pinot Noir is waiting for the completion of his home.
I will tell my dad the story of the wine beneath the cork.
There was a drought in 2014, the year of this wine, which leads to good flavor development at low sugars.
We’ll visualize the early Summer afternoons, high maritime breezes sweeping through the Anderson Valley.
We’ll remember our trip to San Francisco together where the fog blanketed the bay, just as it does Anderson Valley, contributing to the wine’s vibrancy, freshness, and tension.
I’ll share with him how the grapes were handpicked early in the morning of September 1st and then transported to the winery in the cool morning hours.
Here they were sorted and de-stemmed.
We’ll look out across the lake as we take that first sip.
Our nose will fill with the wild-plum and violet florals and strawberry underpinned by nutmeg spice and subtle tones of the forest floor.
The palate of high tones of cherry-pie and bright raspberry, while strawberry, soft mushroom, and dusty tannins add an intricate textural element.
The wine’s flavor will soften with a smooth blend of oak and tobacco leaf.
It was bottled in May 2016.
The second bottle is Fathers & Daughters The Dance.
It’s an elegant blend of 60-percent Old Vine Sauvignon Blanc, 30-percent Gewurztraminer, and 10-percent Chardonnay.
It’s expertly choreographed from grapes to the bottle by Phillip Baxter.
It will be sophisticated, perhaps an extension of “that time we ____”.
The flavors of bright grapefruit married with gentle hints of white peach and citrus blossom.
Fresh soft florals that add delicate perfume and grace, while nuances of marmalade add depth and complexity.
Tonight, I’m flooded with memories of my dad.
I’m popping the cork on Fathers & Daughters Sarah’s Rustic Bubbles.
It’s different than a Methode Traditionelle sparkling wine.
This more Petillant-Naturel style produces a sparkling with more texture and body, and a smooth, aromatic nose.
The lively aromatics evoke fresh apples and tropical citrus which point to the fruit’s cool climate heritage.
In the mouth, the wine explodes as the bubbles rush over the palate leaving a refreshing sense of stone fruit and minerality.
A pristine and bubbly wine whose rusticity and terroir pay homage to the Anderson Valley and the Ferrington Vineyard.
This holiday, celebrate the relationship between Fathers and Daughters with this complex, beautiful wine.
The label will curate the feels and the taste will have you going back for more.
About Fathers & Daughters Cellars
Fathers & Daughters Cellars is one family’s labor of love to produce artisanal wines from the Anderson Valley’s storied Ferrington Vineyard.
Small batches, carefully crafted and fermented using old-world techniques, yield wines that are truly reflective of their terroir.
Like the relationship between a father and daughter, these wines will continue to evolve as they mature.
I received Fathers & Daughters wines in exchange for this post. My opinion and my love for wine and my dad remain my own.