One hundred percent of the grapes for this wine came from our estate vineyard near Boonville in the southern end of Anderson Valley. This little jewel of a wine valley that follows the Navarro River as it drains into the Pacific Ocean at Albion on the Mendocino Coast. Our vineyard is planted to six different, high-quality French Pinot Noir clones ideally suited to Anderson Valley’s cool, marine-influenced climate. Yielding small clusters of small-berried grapes with intense, concentrated flavors and ripe tannins, these special vines enable us to produce a cool-climate Pinot Noir of uncommon depth, richness and complexity.
In 2005, a warm late winter spurred early bud break, yet cool, wet spring weather set back vine development. Unseasonably cool temperatures continued throughout most of the summer, which slowed ripening and extended the harvest season. Fortunately, warm, sunny days in September and October brought the growing season to a successful conclusion. Because the season began early and ended late, the grapes enjoyed a long hang time on the vine, resulting in wines with impressive flavor concentration at moderate alcohol levels. In 2005, our Anderson Valley Pinot Noir grapes were harvested between September 9th and 26th .
We fermented each of our six Anderson Valley Pinot Noir clones separately to maximize their distinctive personalities. Prior to fermentation, each lot received a three-day cold soak to gently extract color and tannin while accentuating the Pinot Noir grape’s fruit-forward character. We then inoculated each lot with a cultured yeast strain to instigate fermentation. In traditional Burgundian fashion, the juice fermented in open-top tanks with gentle, manual punch-down of the cap. After fermentation completed, the wines macerated on the skins for another two weeks, with daily reviews by our winemakers of color and tannin development. After draining the wines off the skins, we transferred them to French oak barrels, 46% new, before creating a final blend in December, 2005 and aging the wine another year in barrel before bottling in December, 2006.
Our 2005 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir is masculine in style with dense, brooding, black plum, dark chocolate, vanilla and roasted coffee aromas. The full-bodied palate is lush and textured, with layers of mouthfilling dark fruit and chocolate-tinged flavors balanced by ripe, supple tannins. Delicious now with hearty fare, this big, youthful Pinot Noir will soften and gain further complexity with another 3 to 5 years of bottle age.