Kathryn and Paul Sloan began in the wine business as vineyard managers 20 years ago. Having both grown up on farms, the workload and rhythms came naturally. Paul was fascinated with the wines and the growing techniques of Burgundy that he had witnessed visiting the region. So he introduced their clients to a low-yield, high-density planting regimen. The way he puts it, it was like solving a puzzle. Small vines are literally what they grow. In 2007, they bought The Barlow Homestead in the Russian River valley where they now live with their two children and farm organically albeit without certification.
The first Small Vines wines appeared in 2005, sourced only from leased-back plots from clients for whom they already farmed. Now, they consider wines from three leased vineyards that they farm ‘estate’ as well as their Barlow Homestead Vineyard. They are located in the Sonoma Coast and Russian River AVAs. All vineyards are dry-farmed. Sloan is known for his obsessiveness in treating each plant individually, often sourcing multiple cuvées from a given vine.
While excellent wines from Russian River and Sonoma Coast are expected to have bracing acidity and early-integrated tannins, Small Vines wines show unique elegance and mastery of these qualities. The Rosé of Pinot Noir 2016 has floral delicacy and breadth on the palate with berry and rich orchard fruit. The TBH Chardonnay 2015 shows primary aromas of intense ripe citrus, yellow apple and stone fruit following through on the palate along with surprising mineral character. The TBH Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2015 (great wine) is lifted and concentrated with dark fruit, brulée and a myriad of spicy and savory aromas, helped along by 75% stem inclusion.