From the Sonoma side of Los Carneros, this Pinot Noir was harvested in the wee hours of September 9th, 2014. Los Carneros' proximity to the cool fog and breezes from San Francisco Bay make the climate in this vineyard cooler and more moderate than the wine regions further north in Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley. The cooler climate has made Los Carneros attractive for the cultivation of cooler climate varietals like Pinot Noir. This vineyard is right off the San Francisco Bay delta and the vines benefit from the cooling winds and the light, chalky, gravel-strewn soil that provides excellent drainage. The combination of these factors create stress on the plants and force them into balance - essentially focusing energy toward fruit versus vegetative development. The vineyard employs VSP (vertical shoot positioning) and are pruned with a bilateral cordon cropped to three tons-per-acre. This management further forces the plant to focus on grape maturation and allows sunlight to reach the clusters. The vineyard is spaced in an East to West orientation to capitalize on the cooling bay winds, but also in full view of the afternoon sun's rays for maximum ripeness.
The 2014 season provided a warm, dry Winter and Spring with ideal weather during bloom and set. For a while it looked like we were on track for a very early harvest, but fruit development slowed because "it was spring all summer long" – the July and August temperatures were more like May. The dry weather early-on provided smaller-than-average berries, which are an indication of rich flavor.
After harvest, the grapes were fermented in 80% neutral American oak and 10% stainless steel. Upon completion, the wine spent six months in barrel before bottling.
At first approach, this wine is bright and has the appearance of a sun-bleached rose petal. Its floral notes are mixed with muddled strawberries, and fresh gardenias on the nose. The palate reflects Rainier cherries, fresh sage, and a light minerality with hints of pomegranate. It concludes with a crisp finish and delightful citrus notes. This wine is a great apéritif, or would pair wonderfully with salmon.