WARNING: may induce cravings for your own glass of 16x20 to sip on. Go ahead and grab one. We'll wait.
We may not have a fancy diagram for the whites, but rest assured that our reds and whites receive equal treatment in the winemaking process. Just like with the reds, we hand-tend the vineyards and personally ensure that only the most exquisite grapes make it into the barrel. The grapes are whole-cluster pressed and fermented directly in small, French oak barrels.
Trivia Alert: This process leaves a sediment in the barrel, also known as LEES.(Pour yourself an extra glass of Chardonnay if you already knew that.) Every week, we get out our stirring stick and mix the lees in the barrel. If this sounds time-consuming, it is. But it's a small price to pay to guarantee that all of our 16x20 white wines will have intriguing layers of flavor, and a complexity that's impossible to replicate if you're not dedicated to handcrafting. Luckily, we're fanatics about our handcrafting - that's how we can guarantee that, every time you open a bottle of 16x20, you'll always find yourself drinking a delicious, balanced, wine masterpiece.
Still want to learn even more about our winemaking? We're happy to oblige. Read on.
We like to think of barrels as the behind-the-scenes superstar of winemaking. They may look like they're merely vessels for holding all of that delicious, wine-y goodness before bottling but, in reality, they're so much more. Part of what separates the good wines from the great wines is down to the barrels that the wine is aged in. This is because barrels allow the winemaker to season their wines with subtle nuances and complexities. How? Well, each and every barrel, depending on how it is constructed and toasted, will subtly impart its own unique and distinctive flavors on the wine. Anything from vanilla and caramel, to smoky or peppery are just a handful of the flavors that can be attributed to toasted oak barrels. The type of barrel selected is what helps guide the evolution of a wine, and the flavors that are drawn out of the juice.
It's important to note that not all toasted barrels are the same. Good toasting can't disguise bad wood, and bad toasting can ruin great wood – both can spell disaster for a barrel. We don't like disasters. So, at Sixteen by Twenty, we only use French Oak barrels from a selection of some of the most pedigreed oak forests in France. We have our barrels harvested, constructed and toasted to our own specifications, from multiple producers. In the cellar, we get to know each and every barrel intimately in order to learn their unique characteristics so that each wine can age in its ideal environment. Winemaking-as-matchmaking? Who knew. Our Cabernet Sauvignon is typically made with 75% new Bordeaux French oak, and our Chardonnay usually sees around 30-40% new Burgundy French oak.
Obsessive? Yes. Worth it? Definitely.
From vineyard to bottling, and everything in-between, we're 100% hands-on, day-in and day-out, 365 days a year. We work in the vineyards nearly every single day, and we love it. But it's a lot of work, and that makes winemaking pretty much impossible without a dedicated, five-star team on-board. Thanks to a fortunate introduction, we realized that we had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make our wines with someone who could see our goals just as clearly as we could, and who was just as passionate about creating handcrafted wine as we were – Paul Hobbs. Paul is one of the top winemakers in the world, and he has won Robert Parker's Wine Personality of the Year not once, but twice. We enjoy navigating the winemaking path with Paul each year - and we promise it's not just because there are barrels of wine at the end of the trail.