2017 Estate Pinot Noir
The Vintage: 2017 was marked by a cold, wet winter and followed by intermittent rains during a long, cool spring. The vines produced a high quality fruit set, followed by a long growing season and a healthy, albeit small harvest in early Septemebr. The 2017 berries were plump and juicy. Production was lower still as we continue with the replanting of the vineyard onto hardier rootstock. The long, cool growing season in 2017 produced a juice that is powerful, yet nicely structured. The cool climate and rugged topography of our site conveys all the attributes so special and unique to this place; power, elegance and density balanced with minerality and brightness, all framed with a strong sense of the nearby ocean.
Production: 128 cases 13.2% alc.
AVA: Sta. Rita Hills
The site: Organically farmed, the vines are planted on tierra loam soils as well as diatomaceous outcroppings (lots of crushed sea shells, black clay and broken river rocks). This elevated, southwest slope gets pounded by the onshore flow coming off the Pacific Ocean. The vines send their roots deep into this signature Sta. Rita Hills dense, microbial dark clay soil to steady themselves against the constant beating of the sea breeze. It is this condition that gives the fruit’s juice added boldness and complexity.
Tasting Notes: This vintage is exceptionally bright and expressive with a wonderful juiciness. There are red fruits with deep texture from the whole stem inclusion giving the finished wine an elegant structure and the long, cold winter and cool spring that marked the 2017 growing season will allow the wine to age nicely in the bottle. But there is plenty to love right now. The fruit and bright acidity, gives the wine a pleasing, lip-smacking liveliness.
Winemaking: The berries were dark & powerful. The fruit fermented for about 18 days in open top vats with 1 or 2 punch downs most days, about 40% whole cluster. The fruit was then pressed to barrel for 14 months on lees before being racked, blended, and put back down to barrel for an additional 4 months of cellaring before being bottled and laid down. Overall, the wine saw about 25% new French oak. Predominately from clones 115 and 667, with a smaller amount of 2A. No acidification. No chaptalization.
The 2017 Pinot Noir is powerful, tightly wound and very much closed in on itself. Intense saline and savory notes give the Pinot here such strong accents to match its tense, vibrant feel. Sweet red berry fruit, crushed rocks, menthol and wild flowers are finely cut in this compelling, yet reticent Pinot. Give it a few years in bottle.
93 Points. Ideal Drinking Window: 2022-2032
-- Antonio Galloni