The grapes for this sumptuous Pinot Noir come exclusively from our estate vineyard near Boonville at the southern end of Anderson Valley, which follows the Navarro River as it drains into the Pacific Ocean at Albion on the Mendocino Coast. While the site experiences cool, foggy mornings, it also enjoys warm late afternoons, an ideal scenario for ripening Pinot Noir grapes to perfection while retaining their vibrant acidity. Another key feature of our Anderson Valley vineyard is its six superb French clones of Pinot Noir, which yield small-berried grapes with intense, concentrated flavors and ripe, round tannins. These special clones allow us to craft an Anderson Valley Pinot Noir of uncommon depth, richness and complexity.
The winter and spring of 2007 were unusually dry and mild, which accelerated budbreak and bloom. The summer months were also temperate, with few heat spikes, which allowed our Anderson Valley Pinot Noir grapes to ripen slowly and evenly. Coupled with modest crop yields and ideal harvest weather, these conditions fostered perfectly ripened fruit, which we night-harvested by hand between September 18th and 27th.
We ferment each of our six Anderson Valley Pinot Noir clones separately to optimize their distinctive personalities, using a proportion of native yeasts from the vineyard (22% in 2007) to foster additional complexity. Prior to fermentation, each lot receives a three-day cold soak to gently extract color and tannin while accentuating Pinot Noir’s fruit-forward personality. In true Burgundian fashion, the juice ferments in open-top tanks with gentle, manual punch-downs of the cap. Once fermentation completes, the wines macerate on the skins for another two weeks, with daily assessments of color and tannin development. In 2007, after draining the wines from the skins, we transferred them to French oak barrels, 40% new, selected specifically to accentuate our Anderson Valley Pinot Noir’s fruit and textural qualities. We then blended the component wines in spring, 2008 and barrel-aged the blend for another seven months, for a total of 15 months barrel aging. The 2007 Pinot Noir was bottled in January, 2009.
On first whiff, our 2007 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir conjures a shower of cascading rose petals, a lovely, floral aroma that gives way with airing to a mélange of dark ripe fruit scents (blueberry, boysenberry and black cherry), with earth, chocolate and juniper notes adding complexity. On the full, rich palate, the wine offers layers of deeply concentrated, dark berry, plum and currant fruit flavors bolstered by ripe, seamlessly integrated tannins and a long, chocolate-y finish. Thoroughly delicious now, this ‘masculine’-style Pinot Noir will become even more voluptuous and complex with another 3-5 years’ bottle aging.