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A pile of recently harvested red grape clusters

The Pursuit of Perfect Phenolics

What are Phenolics?

Phenols are natural compounds that come from grape skins and seeds. Tannins are the most familiar family of phenols, as wine drinkers know a “tannic” wine when they taste one. However, there are other families of phenols whose influence is more subtle but no less vital. These include “free anthocyanins” and “bound anthocyanins.” Collectively, these phenolic compounds drive the visual, textural, structural and sensory qualities of a red wine.

Fortuitously, the terroir of DAOU Mountain is blessed with extraordinary phenolic output. Studies conducted on the mountain indicate that the phenolic levels produced here are among the very highest of any site in the winemaking world. In other words, we are working with raw phenolic materials that are virtually unsurpassed. It is a gift - and a responsibility.

The view from within the rows of grapevines on the vineyard
Harvested grapes in the sorting machine

For this reason, Daniel Daou has deployed an unprecedented array of analyses and technologies to precisely guide phenolic development from the vine through fermentation. Phenolic data points are obsessively acquired three times daily from each lot, and this information helps guide when the free-run juice is racked from the skins in order to lock in the perfect phenolic levels. This intensive union of sensory and science ultimately allows Daniel to meet his vision for each wine, and to achieve consistent color, tannin and mouthfeel from vintage to vintage.

The higher the phenolics, the more stable the color of the wine. High phenolic wines possess a tannin structure that will allow for prolonged age-ability. Soul of a Lion is one of the highest phenolic Cabernet Sauvignons in the world. Year after year.

The barrel storage at DAOU Estate

"Imagine achieving the perfect mouthfeel, structure and color year after year while still allowing for the individual expression of terroir and vintage. This is a phenolic possibility that has been largely unexplored in the wine industry, and that we are vigorously pursuing with every scientific resource available. The results are already evident in our wines, and it will only get better.”


- Daniel Daou

Daniel Daou inspects recently harvested grape clusters