Steven Kent Mirassou is a member of the sixth generation of America’s oldest winemaking family. Six years before Abraham Lincoln was president, the Mirassou family was growing grapes and making wine in San Jose. After graduate school on the East Coast, Mirassou returned to California to start an eponymous brand, The Steven Kent Winery, with his father. They began their brand with one single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and one mission, to make a Cabernet that would equal in quality of those made anywhere in California. He chose the Livermore Valley as the place to achieve this goal.
Planted by Bryan Rahn, the Lencioni Vineyard is planted wtih 337, 7, and 191 clones for optimal growing conditions for hillside Cabernet Sauvignon in the Livermore Valley. A “V” trellis system is used to ensure speckled light on the fruit, rather than direct sun exposure (which can cause excessive fruit temperatures).
Each block of the vineyard is picked separately as every block matures at different times. The grapes are harvested at sunrise in order to bring the fruit to the winery cold, which ensures optimal processing prior to fermentation. The grapes are de-stemmed as whole berries and go into the tank for a cold soak lasting 5-7 days. During this time, the juice is pumped over skins daily to start extracting color and flavors. For the primary fermentation (a two week process), a premium yeast is selected for optimal color extraction, flavors, and complexity. During this period, we taste the wine multiple times daily. When the optimal integration of color, complexity, flavors, and tannins, the wine is pulled off the skins. The skins are put in a wine-press and the remaining juice is pressed out. Malolactic fermentation is then inoculated in the tank to achieve desired texture. Next, the wine is transferred into 100% French oak barrels; the percentage of new barrels used is determined yearly according to the complexity of the given harvest. Typically, 70-75% new oak is used with the balance put into one-year old French barrels. The wine then ages in the barrels for 20 to 24 months. After aging and prior to bottling, the different lots of wine (clones) are blended to create a more complex wine that represents the terroir of the Lencioni Vineyard and the unique Mia Nipote taste.