All started with our delicious red blend, Lappa’s. The word, is a shortened version of the slang Italian phrase “Lappa suc”, a phrase often uttered by my father, the late John Ghiringhelli. I was told that it meant “pumpkin sucker” and it was frequently used in situations where “dumb ass” might have also been appropriate!
I conducted a little research and have discovered that in Italian, ‘lappa’ is a most likely a reference to licking, and “suc” or “zuc” is quite possibly a reference to a gourd or zucchini. Our 2006 Lappa’s is the first blend created by Heibel Ranch Vineyards, and dedicated to the true Lappa! Lappa's is a proprietary Napa Valley blend. It consists of the CCOF certified organic grapes that we grow on our Ranch in the Aetna Springs area of Pope Valley. In 2003, we planted nearly two acres of vineyards. One full acre is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon clone #338, a half acre to Zinfandel clone #8, (a.k.a. “Dempel clone”), and over a quarter acre to Petite Sirah clone #4.
Each Varietal was picked between 24 and 25 brix, and fermented separately in T-bins. The lots spent nearly two weeks on the skins, with two to three daily punch-downs, when they were finally pressed at dryness. After maturing through the winter in primarily new American oak barrels, the varietals were blended to complement each other. The wine aged for a total of two years, the second year in neutral Chardonnay barrels, which contributed to the softness and complexity of the finished wine. The Cabernet Sauvignon, provides the cassis, complex mouth-feel and well integrated tannins, the Zinfandel provides a core of red fruit, and a little spice, while the Petite Sirah, adds a depth of color, a touch of earth, and some structural tannin.