Pinot Noir is at the heart of Clos Saron and the reason to have launched it in the first place. When presented with the opportunity – or was it a challenge?, a trap? – of producing something close to a decent Pinot in the Sierra Foothills, we simply felt we cannot pass on it… So, the initial half an acre of vines, which existed on the property when we bought it in 1998, let to the planting of roughly two more acres of Pinot vines surrounding that site in 1999 and the further planting of about half an acre of the same variety at a stone’s throw away from the Home Vineyard on my mother in law’s land.
Slideshow: A year in the Home Vineyard
The Home Vineyard: Our “Home Vineyard” is north-east facing, at 1530-1600 ft altitude. Overall, the top soil is alluvial clay-loam on volcanic ash, fractured granite, and quartz sub layers; but each section of the vineyard has its own particular combination/ratio of the various components, and a slightly different microclimate and exposure: the “Old-block” (planted in 1979/80 and 1995, at 1570-1600 ft.), “North-block” (planted in 1999, at 1560-1580 ft.), “South-block” (planted in 1999, at 1560-1580 ft.), and “Lower-block“(planted in 1999, at 1530-1550 ft.). Own-rooted vines, comprising about a dozen known and unknown clones, were densely planted (3’x6′). The vineyard is farmed with zero chemicals and minimal irrigation. Fertilization is provided by grazing livestock animals (sheep, geese, and chickens), supplemented with additional organic compost.
Micro-climate Specific Bottlings: Starting with 2011, we have been bottling very limited quantities of “site specific” Pinots, originating from specific individual planting blocks, each with its own typicality and distinctive terroir expression. The first twe “Old Block” and “Lower Block” and, eventually, we plan to also include Susan’s (my mother in law) block.
Texas Hill Rd. Vineyard: A one-acre east-facing vineyard about two miles east of the Home Vineyard, planted in the late 90s at 1700 ft elevation on red clay / decomposed granite soil. We harvested and made wine from it in 2005, 2006, and 2011.