Our Carneros Pinot Noir is crafted from several superb, small-berried clones of the variety grown in outstanding vineyards in the famed Carneros District, which lies at the southern tip of Napa Valley close by San Pablo Bay. Morning fog and cooling afternoon breezes from the bay ensure a long growing season and the slow, even ripening of our Carneros grapes, which in 2006 were harvested between September 7th and 24th.
The long, cool, 2006 growing season began with a wet winter, which delayed bud break and led to late flowering of the vines. Good weather arrived in June, only to be followed by a heat wave in July that caused minor sunburning of some varieties, but no damage to our Carneros grapes. Cooler weather returned in August and continued throughout the harvest season, resulting in a long grape ripening period that fostered mature Pinot Noir flavors balanced by bright acidity.
To make world-class Pinot Noir, we handle the fruit as gently as possible, ferment the juice at moderate temperatures, and intervene minimally during barrel aging. In 2006, we cold-soaked our Carneros fruit for 72 hours prior to fermentation to extract maximum color from the skins. We then inoculated the must with several cultured yeast strains to foster a slow, active fermentation that would accentuate the Pinot Noir grape’s fruitiness. In traditional Burgundian fashion, we fermented the various lots in small, open-top tanks, gently punching down the cap to thoroughly macerate the juice and skins. After fermentation completed, the wines continued macerating on the skins for several weeks to further extract color and flavor. They were then transferred to French oak barrels, 42% new, where they aged for several months before blending in December, 2006. The wine aged an additional year in barrel before bottling in December, 2007.
Our 2006 Carneros Pinot Noir displays all the charms that make Pinot Noir lovers swoon. The nose boasts beautifully fresh aromas of bright black cherry and raspberry fruit, with lovely lavender, black tea, brown spice and toffee scents adding complexity. The silky, medium-bodied palate offers pure, beautifully structured, wild cherry, red-berry and Asian spice flavors, while the wine’s lengthy finish, full of rich fruit, ripe tannins and subtle oak tones, persists for minutes. A wonderful example of fine Carneros Pinot Noir, this pretty, yet substantial, wine drinks beautifully now, but will develop additional complexity with 3-5 years additional aging.