In viticulture, size matters. Seven Stones vineyards are composed of six parcels, each less than an acre. A seventh block will be planted soon—in homage to the vineyard's name and the wine's future. The Lilliputian dimensions of the vineyard blocks create an environment where an intimate relationship has developed between the soil, the vineyard team and each vine cluster, right down to the last grape: Winemaker Aaron Pott literally sees that each grape is examined individually by hand to ensure it has reached its optimum potential before being crushed.
Located in the hills east of St. Helena, above Meadowood and just below the Howell Mountain appellation, adjacent to David Abreu’s Thorevilos Vineyard, Colgin’s Herb Lamb Vineyard and Forman Vineyards, the Seven Stones site possesses a truly unique terroir, partly because of its tumultuous volcanic past. A single vine row reveals several soil changes—from powdery white ash, to enormous boulders, to brown and black glasslike obsidian. White soils give way to grey, to brown, and to red soils all within the same small vineyard block. This complexity lends its character to the vine, yielding grapes with different flavors and aromas, and wines of incredible complexity and depth.
These “micro-blocks” also boast a very unique microclimate. It is a hillside vineyard, which confers a structure and firmness to the wines. But most local mountain vineyards lie above the line of fog that invades the Napa Valley in the evening, so they do not experience the cooling effects that are so beneficial to grape growing. Seven Stones, however, is perfectly situated within the fog on most mornings before it clears to reveal sunshine. As night falls, the fog returns and forces the day’s warm air of the valley floor up the hillsides into the higher altitudes. Seven Stones again finds itself within the cooling white embrace of the Pacific Ocean’s influence—intensifying the color and increasing hang-time, which ultimately yields greater complexity in the wines.