Fred Scherrer was the first winemaker with whom Jérôme shared his passion for wine and winemaking. Since the first release in 2001, they produced together the following four vintages of the Verve Pinot Noir Russian Valley. In 2005, Jérôme Aubin chose to make wine in Oakland, closer to his East Bay residence with Loren Tayerle's winemaking expertise.
Loren Tayerle's early winemaking jobs at David Bruce Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains and Rosenblum Cellars in the East Bay enabled him to gain experience and inspiration to hand craft Pinot Noir and Rhône varietals.
Loren brings a sense of aesthetics to winemaking from a career as a classical musician. Precision, attention to details, unity, intensity and complexity translate equally from the concert hall to the vineyard and cellar. Loren has continued his studies in Viticulture and Enology at U.C.Davis and Napa Valley College and has traveled to the Old World winegrowing regions.
Marie-Eve Gilla and Jérôme Aubin have worked closely together on Forgeron Cellars barrel program for the last 5 years. Jérôme always enjoyed Marie-Eve's wines for their understated elegance, fruit brightness and balanced acidity. In 2004, Jérôme retained Marie-Eve to craft a Syrah from Bouschey Vineyard in the Yakima River Valley; together, they fine-tuned the barrel selection and final blend.
In 1991, Marie-Eve Gilla came to the United States from France to work in an Oregon winery for a few months as an intern.
She did not plan to stay long, but 12 years later, Marie-Eve is still in the Northwest, introducing wines from Forgeron, a new Walla Walla, WA winery.
Marie-Eve believes that crafting wines of distinction should showcase vineyards where the grapes are grown. When the fruit allows, she will produce single-vineyard varieties and a varietal blend, with emphasis on complexity, fruit and oak integration.
With a Master's degree in fermentation science, Marie-Eve said she does not rely heavily on high fermenting temperatures and heavy toast for the aging process in her wines. The result is: the wines may not taste bold and big when they are young, but with barrel aging, they are allowed to fully develop.
"I like more elegance in my wines," Marie-Eve said. "I will be on the side of more fruit and less oak with a long finish."
Ray Walsh is a native New Zealander, and worked his way up from "Cellar Rat" to "Cellar Master" at Limeburner Bay, Villa Maria, Waitakere, and Coopers Creek Wineries before moving to the US in 1995. He started as Cellar Master at King Estate in June of 1995, then became winemaker in June of 1999. He was instrumental in the developement of the King Estate wine style, and in the high ratings and national respect the winery has today.
Ray Walsh, winemaker at King Estate from 1993 - 2005, has branched out with his own label, Capitello Wines. Ray Walsh and Jérôme Aubin met in 2002 at King Estate where Jérôme introduced Ray to Rousseau barrels. Jérôme always appreciated the thorough and conscientious feedback Ray provided on the various coopers in his barrel program.
In 2006, Jérôme chose to work with Ray to produce small lots of Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley Vineyards at the Spindrift Winery in Philomath, Oregon. For the 2006 and 2007 vintage, Ray and Jérôme selected a block of Dijon clones 115 and 777 from Stoller Vineyard as well as an older Pommard from Momtazi vineyard.
In 2007, Jerome was glad to keep working with Ray to release his first desert wine, a 2005 Gewurtzraminer, now sold out. He called this wine" Janka" , which is actually the affectionate nickname given to his sweetheart.
Jerome had the opportunity to work closely with Charles Hochman to produce small lots of French Colombard from the "Domaine de Mirail" in Gascony in southwest France.
Born and raised in Denmark, Leo Hansen has been passionate about food and wine all his life. In 1992, after completing a degree in business sales and marketing, Leo began a rigorous four-year apprenticeship with Orla Farmann, renowned European sommelier and national champion for the Danish Sommelier World Cup Team. In 1997, after extensive study and travels throughout the great winegrowing regions of Europe, including Loire, Alsace, Champagne, Burgundy, Spain and Italy, Leo received his certification as a European sommelier.
Impressed by the freedom and quality of California’s vibrant wine scene during a buying trip, Leo relocated to Sonoma County and took an apprenticeship at Clos du Bois to study winemaking firsthand. Leo began his association with Stuhlmuller Vineyards in 2002. Originally cellar master, within two years he was appointed winemaker for Stuhlmuller as well as founding his own Leo Steen Wines. Taught to appreciate the relationship between wine, food and people, Leo works to craft authentic and engaging wines. “I love the intimacy of working in a small winery,” says Leo. “You get to discover the charm and subtleties of each vineyard block. . . The goal isn’t to speak for the vineyard, it’s to let the vineyard speak for itself.”
Leo and Jerome began working on Aubin Cellars’ first Chardonnay in 2009; a complex, reserve style wine created with select fruit from Stuhmuller’s 40-year-old Wente clone vines. Aging, begun in a Rousseau cask, was finished in a selection of their premium Video barrels. The partnership has continued through four subsequent vintages, with the most recent 2013 release available in early 2015.
All Aubin Cellars' Verve wines are made with hands-on artisanal techniques.
The first crucial step in winemaking is the harvest. "Picking" decisions are made on the basics of multiple sensory evaluations rather than a strict devotion to numbers. The grapes are carefully selected and yields rarely exceed 2.5 tons per acre for maximum fruit concentration and purity.
Once the fruit is destemmed, the must is fermented in small wooden or stainless steel open top fermenters and T-Bins for a total cuvaison of 15 days, of which 5 days are cold soaked. The cap is manually punched down twice a day during fermentation. Alternatively, pump. overs are performed for Syrah. After fermentation, the must is gently pressed, using a basket press. The pressing is stopped when traces of bitterness and sappiness appear.
Then, the free run juice and pressed wine are barreled down and are aged in small French oak barrels.
The barrel program is carefully based on Jérôme's expertise. In order to achieve more complexity, he prefers blending forests (Troncais, Allier, Center France), coopers (Rousseau, St. Martin, Remond) and toasting levels (Medium long and Medium Plus). Rousseau barrels deepen the fruit with aromas of spice, mocha and earthy tones, while Remond barrels highlight the brightness and acidity of the fruit.
Extended ageing (16 to 20 months) adds more depth and density to the wine while respecting its fruit character.
Finally, the wine is bottled unrefined and unfiltered to preserve its textural quality. We also like to bottle age for a minimum of 9 months and we recommend to decant the wine for at least 2 to 3 hours before tasting it. Cellaring our wines 2 to 3 years will be ideal.