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    Royal Slope

    AVA Information

    2020
    Designated
    1,900 acres (768 hectares)
    Vineyards
    Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc
    Top Varieties
    6-8 inches
    Average Annual Precipitation
    sandy loam, silt
    Soil
    14yrs
    Average vine age

    Several factors make this area a superb site for growing grapes. Royal Slope is widely varied in the elevation at which it is planted. This creates ideal conditions for most every varietal somewhere within the AVA. The lower elevation lends toward warmer climate varietals and a riper expression, where the higher elevation tends to be suited for a cooler expression. The varying elevation also allows for ripening to occur over a broad period of time. Of a given varietal, there may be a month or more from our first harvest date to the last. The wide harvest window grants us the luxury of extended hang time for the fruit to reach optimum physiological development.

    An environmental factor that has proven beneficial is the existence of an inversion layer that manifests at ideal times. During freezing cold nights in late harvest, thermal winds push cold air that has settled in at the lower laying vineyards to much higher elevations and brings warm air down. A potential frost event equates to sleepless nights. Knowing this inversion forms is an enormous relief for varietals that require ripening into late October.

    By definition, Royal Slope is not a hot area and it is not a cold area, but within the AVA you will find pockets across the spectrum that allow room for many styles of winemaking. A sort of Goldilocks zone. Though, Royal Slope wines have a one-of-a-kind signature. The fruit is intense with a distinct floral character and slight earthy nuance. The wines gravitate toward full-bodied and rich, almost as if they have barrel age concentration without ever seeing oak. White varietals are beautifully energetic, luxurious, and viscous. The reds are impactful and have the texture of liquid velvet in the blue-black fruit realm. The fruit is quite easy to work with as long as you do not intervene and allow the site to speak for itself. There is no doubt the voice of Royal Slope will soon be recognized as one of the greats.”

    Winemaker Hal Iverson says, “A defining characteristic of the Royal Slope AVA is elegance.  There is a lot of diversity in the various vineyard expressions on this south facing slope, and the elevation and row orientation of each unique site contribute to a lot of this difference.  The vineyards that we work with at the higher elevations (1400-1700’) have really small berries, super concentrated fruit, but an aromatic lift that gives the wine a freshness and levity.  The vineyards at the lower elevations (700-1000’) ripen a little slower, still have intense concentration, but reveal a charming approachability in their youth and evolve with a distinct savory quality.  How many other appellations of a similar size can grow aromatic whites, full bodied whites, and a host complex reds at such a high level?  The Royal Slope is an expressive AVA with some really incredible vineyard sites.”