I. Brand & Family
After ten years of studying the history, geography, climate and geology of the Monterey Bay area through their P’tit Paysan and La Marea labels, Ian and Heather Brand started I. Brand & Family to showcase the truly unique vineyard blocks in the region- Santa Cruz Mountains, Monterey, and San Benito- which they believe will define their region. These wines are made with special regard for site, intended to intensely showcase place, and each site was selected because of its special location, match of variety to place, and relationship with the history and/or future of the region.
"The Brands have done incredible work to showcase the quality of their region, and the I. Brand & Family wines are statement wines that put the region in its rightful place alongside the very best in California". - Eric Clemons, Coeur Wine Company
Cabernet Franc ‘Bates Ranch’ Santa Cruz Mountains
Varietal: Cabernet Franc
In our opinion, Bates Ranch is the least known of the holy trinity of Bordeaux varietal sites in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The other two, Monte Bello and Mt. Eden, are among the most revered vineyards in California. We first became aware of Bates Ranch through the amazing, and amazingly ageworthy, 70s and 80s bottlings from classic Santa Cruz Mountain produces like Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards and Ahlgren Vineyards. Bates Ranch is located in the extreme southeastern end of the appellation, on Redwood Retreat Road. We are honored to receive the fruit from half of a small block of Cabernet France planted in 1978 for this bottling. Soils in this section of vineyard are the red Franciscan series of volcanic influenced sedimentary rocks that runs along the eastern side of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Fermented whole berry with native yeasts and a three week maceration. Aged in a neutral puncheon, a neutral barrel and a once used barrel for 20 months. 94 cases produced.
Cabernet Franc ‘Bayly Ranch’ Paicines
Varietal: Cabernet Franc
From an approximately 10 year old, 3 acre planting on a 800 foot elevation, 5% south facing sloped bench over the usually dry Tres Pinos Creek and the San Andreas Fault. Soils are rocky alluvial deposits representing the melange of geologic formations around the fault zone. Paicines has a population of approximately 40 people, a general store where the tacos are mostly disappointing, and was at separate times a major growing area for the Almaden Winery and a hideout for the outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez. The area gets some coastal fog off the Monterey Bay via the Pajaro River gap, but days are mostly warm with peak temperatures in the 90s, with cold nights descending into the low 50s during the summer and lower in the fall. This is a great locale for Cabernet Franc to exhibit Loire-like structure overlaid with the bright fruit befitting Califronia sunshine. Picked at moderate sugars and vinified whole berry with a 22 day maceration, aged 11 months in 6 neutral and one once used french oak barrel and another 9 months in bottle before release. 165 cases made.
Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Monte Bello Road’ Santa Cruz Mountains
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
In 2014 Ian Brand was given the opportunity to make wine from one of the handful of small vineyards atop Monte Bello not controlled by Ridge. Located near the crest of the hill at over 2000 ft elevation and looking east over the Lehigh Permanente rock quarry and San Francisco Bay, these vines, planted in the mid-90s, are rooted in the red Franciscan series soils with limestone substrate typical of the area. Warm peak daytime temperatures with large diurnal fluctuations and ample sunshine give these grapes robust fruit, depth, complexity and astounding natural acidity. Vinified whole berry in small lots and aged on lees for 22 months in 10% new French oak and aged another 12 months in bottle before release. 211 cs produced.
Mourvedre Enz Vineyard Lime Kiln Valley
Farming Practice: Sustainable, Organic
Sustainable (organic starting in 2016). 100% Mourvedre. The Mourvedre block at Enz is just under 8 acres and was planted in the 1920s. It’s a dry-farmed 8 acre block consisting mostly of Mourvedre but also Pais, Carignan, Muscat, Alicante Bouschet on 10 x 10 spacing. Vineyard is at southern base of Mt. Harlan on a 5% incline on north facing slope. Soils are granitic sand with significant limestone and dolomite deposits. The Mourvedre is an isolated genetic line from what’s commonly available in California- the budwood was sourced from original planting in Lime Kiln Valley and brought over from an immigrant from Southern France. Spontaneous fermentation with 50% whole-cluster with stems, other 50% whole berry. Aged in 3 neutral barriques and 1 new lightly toasted 500 L puncheon. The portion that went into new puncheon spent 3 months before returning to barriques. 11 months total spent in barrel. Unfined, unfiltered. Bottled and aged 9 months in bottle before release. 94 cs produced.