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Santa Barbara, California 93111
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Keller Estate - Sonoma Coast


True specialist in creating artisan, hand-crafted Pinot Noir

While driving through the meandering Sonoma County roads more than 20 years ago, Arturo Keller stumbled upon a piece of property peering over the Petaluma River with a stunning view and expansive terrain.

The ranch, with its majestic panorama, bountiful wildlife and acres of open space, would later become the spectacular destination for Keller Estate.Arturo Keller, a passionate antique car collector from Mexico, was initially drawn to Sonoma’s Petaluma region by the miles of scenic country roads on which he could practice some non-professional race car driving of his own. He purchased the 50-acre Petaluma property in 1982 and built a paved road weaving about the property to serve as his own miniature race course.

For years, the site consisted of a large car showroom in which Keller kept his valuable collection of vintage and classic race cars, most from pre-World War II, including an 1898 Benz. To add some landscaping appeal to the property, Keller took a suggestion from neighbors and a recommendation from nearby UC Davis to plant a vineyard. He decided on 20 acres of Chardonnay, and in 1989 named the vineyard La Cruz after his Mexican heritage.

Over time, he added more acreage to include Pinot Noir and began making wine for family and friends. The wines were extremely well received, and Keller discovered that the vineyard’s unique terrior produced rich, aromatic wines that he wanted to share with the rest of the world.

Keller called his youngest daughter, Ana, who studied Chemistry at the University of Mexico, and invited her to join in his new wine venture. Ana’s educational background and respect for terrior would prove to be an extremely beneficial addition to Keller Estate.

Ana and her father released the first Keller Estate vintage in 2001, of just under 2,000 cases of Estate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

The label design on these wines displayed the Keller Family Crest, which has been a part of the family for generations and actually originated in Switzerland. The key depicted in the center of the crest represents the cellar master’s key, as he is the guardian to the cellar.

The name Keller Estate also pays homage to the Keller family’s Swiss heritage, since the word ‘keller’ is cellar in German.Since that initial release, the Kellers have considered their wines works of art, designed by their terrior and their vineyards. To incorporate this philosophy into their workplace, the family set out to build a state-of-the-art winery that was equally functional, elegant and spacious.

“We wanted to create a winery that would make people think of art when they visit,” explained Ana.

And they have certainly succeeded in that. Designed by Pritzker award-winning architect and family friend, Ricardo Legorreta, the Keller Estate Winery was constructed out of limestone quarried from the beds of the Yangtze River and features a gravity flow system that ensures gentle winemaking practices, allowing the true nature of the varietals to shine through.

“We try to find the right balance so we can showcase the beautiful aromas and expressive flavors our wines are naturally blessed with,” Ana translated. “We’ve learned that the most important task - and sometimes the most difficult one - is to do nothing. Nothing but respect the fruit, the vineyard and the wines themselves.”

The Kellers are recently joined by winemaker Alex Holman, who’s award-winning Pinot Noirs are known throughout the state. Alex’s minimalist style combined with a chemistry background have proven to be a winning combination and he looks forward to taking Keller Estate’s wines to the next level.
To further promote the team’s interest and respect for the environment, Keller Estate recently completed the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance’s Sustainable Winegrowing Program. The winery now utilizes a natural water source, promotes local wildlife to live on the property, and is home to thousands of newly planted trees.

At an annual production level of just 7,000 to 8,000 cases, this boutique winery continues to release captivating, honorable wines and is truly an inspiring achievement. As Ana has simply stated, “We want to create a legacy that can be continuously maintained for generations to come.”



Alex Holman

Alex Holman is the new winemaker for Keller Estate, bringing with him years of award-winning winemaking experience. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, Alex attended Fresno State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and graduated in 1993. His chemistry degree landed him at a water lab working with ag chemicals where he was introduced to the art of fermentation.

Alex started homebrewing and making small batches of wine at home in his free time, and decided this form of fermentation was much more enjoyable. He went back to Fresno State in 2000 and completed the University’s esteemed enology program. Alex went on to work for Fresno’s Christian Brothers Brandy facility where he made brandy and Central Valley wines, but his heart was in San Francisco and he longed to return to northern California and its esteemed wine country.

In 2003, Alex landed a job at Paul Hobbs Winery in Sonoma where he made $100 high-end Pinot Noirs. He then moved to Dry Creek Vineyard as an assistant winemaker in March of 2004, and helped start J. Rickards winery of Alexander Valley in 2008.

Alex brings a minimalist winemaking style to Keller Estate and is very excited by this new opportunity crafting terrior-driven, site specific wines from Keller’s premium estate vineyards. Alex uses time honored techniques in the cellar and works closely with Ana Keller when deciding the final blends of the Keller Estate wines.

About The Region

The Keller Estate 2009 La Cruz Vineyard Pinot Noir is comprised of fruit from the Keller family’s estate vineyard, characterized by the intricate stone cross sculpture that boldly stands over the vines, and named to represent the family’s Mexican heritage.

The majority of the La Cruz Vineyard, where Keller Estate grows all of their Chardonnay, Syrah, Pinot Gris, and slightly over half of their Pinot Noir, resides on the lower hills of the property. The soils here are multi-layered, mineral-laden clays there were once San Pablo Bay seabeds. This mineral character comes through in the wines and is very much a part of the Keller Estate’s unique terrior.

Higher up on the Keller Estate property lies the 20-acre El Coro block that is home to several different clones of Pinot Noir. Here, the vines are more exposed to the winds that bring the Pacific maritime air and fog through the Petaluma Gap.
The expansive Keller Estate property allows the team to select the ideal growing area for each clone and varietal, and the result is an incredibly diverse line up of expressive, Sonoma Coast wines.


Chopped Lamb Steak with Garlic Spinach


Ingredients

1/2 lb. spinach, stems discarded,rinsed
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil,
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 1/2 lbs. ground lamb
2 Tbs. dry red wine (pinot works just fine)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 large garlic clove, minced
4 slices of peasant bread
4 oz. fresh goat cheese, cut into 4 pieces
Marjoram leaves, for garnish


Instructions

Heat a medium skillet over moderately high heat. Add a large handful of spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted. Transfer to a colander and repeat with the remaining spinach. Gently squeeze the spinach dry, then coarsely chop and reserve.

In the same skillet, heat 1 Tbs. of olive oil. Add the red onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 7 min. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool. Add the ground lamb to the bowl and break it up slightly. Add the red wine, cumin, cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. of salt and 1/2 tsp. of black pepper and blend well. Gently form the mixture into four 4-inch patties.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining 2 Tbs. of olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until fragrant, about 40 seconds. Add the wilted spinach and cook, stirring, until hot. Season with salt and pepper, cover and keep warm.

Light a grill. Lightly brush the bread with olive oil and grill, turning once, until lightly browned, about 1 min. per side. Spread the goat cheese on the bread and top with the spinach. Brush the lamb patties with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat, turning once, until the patties are nicely charred outside and medium-rare within, about 4 min. per side. Transfer the patties to the bread, garnish with marjoram and serve.



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