Get the Dirt about Maidenstoen Wines from Mike Callahan

19 Jun

Maiden-mikeI founded Maidenstoen Wine Corp in 2013 to focus on high quality Riesling being grown from unique and extreme sites in CA. I started working with the Zabala Vineyard back in 08’
producing some Syrah for Luis Zabala. He later would turn me on to his organically-farmed Riesling block. With many historical ties to Riesling’s history in Monterey County, I felt compelled to produce wines that maximized the potential of this amazing site. The Zabala Vineyard is located in the south end of Monterey County planted in dried up river bed soils with stone outcroppings throughout. I typically pick this vineyard at 20.0-21.0 Brix. Resulting in final alcohols around 12%. This wine starts with heaps of fresh citrus and floral aromatics and shows complex minerality on the pallet. The Zabala Vineyard Riesling has good natural acidity and shows great purity and expression from this phenomenal site.

I was introduced to John Allen after his Riesling became available at the Coast View Vineyard in 2013. After speaking with Ian Brand who had been making the Riesling before me and then
visiting the ranch, I was blown away. The Coast View Vineyard is a site that had no neighbors.


Like Mt. Harlan and Pisoni Ranch this is a vineyard that was truly “pioneered” and created
against all odds. It is located far back in Chualar Canyon at 2200’ elevation. Planted to shallow limestone soils and with massive diurnal swings, this is an extreme site that vines struggle to produce in. These grapes tend to have thicker skins and produce a more phenolic wine if not careful. This vineyard although picked a bit later than the others, is typically the lowest pH and has the best aging potential. Coast View pushes more of what I consider the “classic” Riesling characteristics, this wine shows apricots and dried fruits, and has great richness and intensity on the pallet.

In 2012 I traded some Riesling bottles with Bruce McGuire from the Santa Barbara Winery.
Impressed by the wines, we spoke at length over the next year and soon enough I was
conspiring to get some Riesling from him. The Lafond Vineyard Riesling was planted back in
1972 and is the oldest California Riesling Vineyard on the Central Coast. After moving back to
San Luis Obispo and taking the assistant winemaker position at Chamisal Vineyards, I got an
opportunity to work with Lafond Vineyard Riesling and was thrilled.

MaidnefermentationLafond is very unique from my two other bottling’s, the Lafond vineyard is undoubtedly the coolest site I deal with. Located in the Sta Rita Hills AVA off of Santa Rosa Rd Lafond produces what I consider, the most approachable wine in the portfolio. Vinified at very low temperatures, controlled with “cuttingedge refrigeration”, this is a very slow fermentation that impressed me with its “estery” sweet mandarin and tropical fruit profile. I look forward to continuing to learn from this site, and I’m very excited about my first bottling from this ranch being released summer of 2015.

I have no real “archetype” for the Riesling I am producing and there is no model for what I’m
focused on achieving. Although I am inspired and love drinking Riesling from the old world as
well as some of the new gaurde of Riesling producers in Santa Barbara, my FOCUS is on clean
expressions of these sites and continuing to understand better the terroir from these great
vineyards. My wines are available for tasting by appointment in SLO, please email me at with any questions or to set up appointments. I sell most of my
wine at restaurants and wine shops in CA and CO. Thank you for your interest in this small
production. It gives me great satisfaction to produce and share these unique wines.!

For more information about Maidenstoen, please visit their website.

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