A new winery has entered the Santa Clarita horizon. Well, not exactly new, just new for going commercial. Chris and Patty Connolly have been making wine for 13 years. In the past the only way to taste their line up was to attend local wine events that benefited local charities. I recently caught up with the Connolly’s at Sunset in the Vineyard and, though too busy pouring their wine for guests, they took the time later to answer some questions about their plans.
For our first commercial vintage, we are offering two wines.
2009 Zinfandel is from the Benito Dusi Vineyard in Paso Robles. This Zinfandel is a prime example of classic Paso Zin. The 80 year old vines are head pruned into a goblet shape. This method of pruning combined with the age of the old vines that are dry farmed produce a very complex rich wine. Open top fermented and aged in Pennsylvania Oak, this wine has an excellent balance of dark fruit and black pepper with notes of a tobacco finish. Only 50 cases produced.
2009 Roussanne from the Ripken Vineyard in Lodi. The fruit comes from the cooler western region of Lodi, where the days are warm and the nights are cooled by the Sacramento River Delta. Eight months of cold fermentation in stainless steel allows our Roussanne to showcase its aromatic varietal characteristics. Notes of tropical fruits with hints of apricot and almonds along with a lasting finish make this wine wonderful alone or with a meal. Only 95 cases produced.
2. Where can we buy (or sample?) your wines?
We are a very small winery with a limited production. Currently our wines are available on our web site: www.lesdeuxchats.com and if you have trouble spelling that, then go to www.thetwocats.com Our first commercial pouring was at Sunset In The Vineyard and the wines were very well received. In addition, we are planning other events in Santa Clarita and the Los Angeles area. For more information on future events, follow us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Les-Deux-Chats-Cellars/10150148183355258?v=wall&ref=ts
3. You are members of the SCV Vintners and Growers Association. What exactly is that?
It started as a group of local winemakers and growers who have a passion for making wine. Some of us grow grapes and other purchase fruit to make wine. It’s a chance for local winemakers to get together and share their wines and talk about what is happening in the world of winemaking.
4. How long have you two been making wine?
We’ve been making wine since 1997, starting out with 50lbs of Zinfandel in a 5 gallon carboy, yielding 2 cases of wine. We’ve been hooked every since and are both the winemakers. It started out as a hobby at home, sharing with our friends and neighbors, then in 2009 we went commercial. We now make our wine in Paso Robles.
5. What do you see for the future of Les Deux Chats – and, please, explain that fun name.
Our plan for Les Deux Chats is to stay a boutique winery focusing on premium wines we enjoy drinking and sharing. In 2009 we produced only 150 cases. In 2010 we plan to produce 450 cases. These small lots will allow us to focus on the details of making great wines. Les Deux Chats is our original name from our home winemaking days. We had two cats, we fell in love with the Rhone valley in France and from that, found our French name. We thought about changing the name because friends could not pronounce it, but later realized, that was fun and memorable. How do you say it? 😉
Yours, in wine and out,