Our Carneros Pinot Noir is a blend of grapes from several outstanding vineyards in the northern section of the famed Carneros District in southern Napa Valley. The loam and hillside alluvial soils of these cool-climate sites yield small crops of Pinot Noir fruit with highly concentrated flavors. Morning fog and cooling afternoon breezes from nearby San Pablo Bay ensure a long growing season and vibrant grape acidity, resulting in rich, beautifully balanced wines.
The 2009 growing season in Napa Valley was “cool” in all respects. Spring rains replenished the water table, deferring the need for irrigation, which kept berry sizes small. Summer brought consistently below-average temperatures, resulting in the slow, parallel development of grape sugars and flavors. This allowed the fruit to reach peak maturity at lower sugar levels, a highly desirable outcome. We harvested our Carneros Pinot Noir grapes between August 31st and September 11th with an ideal balance of ripe fruit flavors and crisp balancing acidity.
Night harvesting of our Carneros Pinot Noir grapes ensures we fully capture the variety’s fresh acidity, ethereal aromas and silky, complex fruit flavors. In 2009, in true Burgundian fashion, we retained 20% of the grape stems in the fermentation, 85% of which was conducted in small, open-top tanks using a special Burgundian yeast strain, with daily punchdowns of the cap to fully extract color, flavor and tannin. Fifteen percent of the juice fermented in open-top barrels, which softens tannins, stabilizes color and allows for the early integration of oak aromas and flavors. Once fermentation completed, the wines macerated on their skins for several additional weeks to fully extract color and flavor. They were then transferred to medium-plus-toast French oak barrels, 33% new, where they aged eight months prior to blending. The blended wine aged another seven months in barrel before bottling in December, 2010.
The fresh, enticing nose of our 2009 Carneros Pinot Noir offers vivacious Bing cherry, red raspberry and red plum aromas complemented by lovely vanilla, tea-leaf spice and toasted oak scents. On the supple, richly textured palate, the wine delivers wonderfully deep, juicy, cherry and plum flavors framed by seamlessly integrated tannins and a long, fruitful finish punctuated by savory spice tones. Thoroughly delicious now, this superb Carneros Pinot Noir will age gracefully in bottle for another 3-5 years