Mike Dunn's winemaking style can be described as "retro" in that his aim is to allow the terroir to express itself in the bottle, he makes the wine as naturally as possible, and ages the wine in french oak barrels for an extended period of 30 months.
Working with the Park Muscatine Vineyard Petite Sirah clones of Durif and Peloursin, which have structure and tannin as their middle name, Mike highlights the fruit flavors through yeast selection and cold-soaking.
Starting with the 2005 Petite Sirah, Mike added two more coopers to his barrel program: Roberts & Son and Gamba. Keith Roberts has been a master cooper for 26 years and has worked the last 15 with his son Nathan. They both apprenticed in France, and have a deep dedication to the art and craft of barrel-making. Keith points out that in the ancient craft of coopering the only transforming change in the last century has been the innovation of toasting, which was not a part of the coopering process until the 1970’s. Fabbrica Botti Gamba is a family owned and operated 215-year old Italian cooperage. It is located in the Piedmonte province of Northern Italy. Mike chose a puncheon, a 120-gallon barrel, from Gamba. Mike reflects “Trying different barrels has been very informative for me. It is amazing to see how each barrel affects the wine, and they can be quite different from each other. It is one of three crucial ingredients in great wines: good grapes, good barrels, and cleanliness”.