Since 1998, when I decided to shed my city dweller life for a tent in the Ozark mountains, become a winegrower and learn the lessons of being a steward of the land, my awareness of my climate became all to clear. “Whom better to spread the call of change than a farmer,” I responded. When you see temperatures drop in the middle of the day from 80 to 35 in April, then for the next four days each morning nose dive down to 24 degrees killing all your grapevines’ future vintage; you sink into the reality you can’t fight Mother Nature. When you see rolling clouds of dimpled cotton balls forming over your vineyards, you later hear F4 tornados obliterate communities in Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. When you see your farm go from lush to drought, drain your ponds to irrigate, only mow twice in a year & there is no rain forecast in sight for months, what then do you tell your children on how to prepare for how to farm in the future to come? How do you handle 6 inches of rain in an hour that cuts your pond dams, roads, and makes Swiss cheese out of your land from baseball size hail? How do you prepare for the ever changing unpredictable climate as a farmer? My answer is you work with Mother Nature, not against her!
In 2007, I planted Syrah & Shiraz as a supplementary blending tool for my Cynthiana in the event of years to come that would be a challenge for ripening the flavors needed to achieve greatness. In 2016, we were able to produce a small batch of 50% Syrah and 50% Shiraz. Aged in new French and American oak for only a week before tasting its progress, when I swirled it around my taste buds I felt like I had just swallowed a hand full of Oak splinters! After filtering, I decided that this vintage was one of the best I had ever grown, fermented and twirl on my palate...”Splinters” was born! Just like our ever changing climate, this blend evolves every minute after popping the cork. It takes up to 2-5 hours to breathe and open on your tongue. Too easy to drink with the perfect amount of dryness, a cyclone of fruit forward profiles and a finish that is like a liquid 2X4 smacked you silly with awareness of: wow the bottle is gone!
Who ever thought Splinters could be so smooth? Who ever thought climate change would be the determining factor for wines in Arkansas? Ask your local farmer what they think about climate change and your sense of awareness will be splintered. The reality with this wine is it may be the only vintage ever made for these grapes may not survive the future weather patterns we face.
Cynthiana, our Arkansas State Grape I helped bring awareness to through legislation in 2009, is the future resilient varietal for our area. Since 1837, Arkansas has been growing this amazingly bold grape.
My philosophy of sustainable growing practices, thinking seven generations ahead and making wines that last the test of time brought me to the opportunity to help empower Arkansas one sip at a time. Chateau aux Arc is very proud to be offering this collaboration with ARKCCL.
40 Cases of 2016 Splinters & 20 Cases of 2015 Cynthiana will raise proceeds to engage, educate and encourage Arkansans to take action within their families, communities & daily lives.