2011 was our first vintage to produce two very limited “site-specific” Pinot Noir bottlings from two small sections of this vineyard . For us, these two wines represent another step in our pursuit of the expression of distinctive Sierra Mountain terroir. Our 2-1/2 acre “Home Vineyard” comprises four planting blocks, each with its own specific soil and microclimate variation. For the first time, in addition to the “Home Vineyard” cuvee, we had enough fruit to make the separate fermentation, barrel aging, and bottling of these a practical possibility. We decided to individually bottle two of the four: the “Old Block” and the “Lower Block“, since they expressed the most distinctive character, while offering an exciting contrast to each other.
About the terroir: 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.
Vintage specifics: The season followed a near-identical pattern to 2010: bud-break began on April 15, bloom on June 15, and verasion in early August. Spring and summer were unusually cool, with only a few days of 90-95 degrees through the whole season, and occasional rains. Harvest begun on September 16, and continued in sequential passes through the vines until October 3rd, with sugars at ~22.2 Brix in average. The grapes were partly destemmed partly whole-cluster stomped into open-top fermenters, where un-inoculated, sulfite-free fermentations took place on 50% of the stems. Pressed after 4-10 day macerations into 5 to 10 year old barrels. Aged on the primary lees until the bottling day (4/8/13). Bottled by gravity unfined/unfiltered. Yield: 0.7 ton/acre.
About the wine: The “Lower Block” PInot is very concentrated, with solid structure, high acidity and good grip. Pure and complex aromatically, it is dark, full, and densely textured, with deep (black) fruit flavors. It hides a good deal of tannins under its velvety softness. This wine is attractive right now but possess significant aging potential. (Winter 2015)
13.5% Alcohol, 20ppm SO2 added at bottling.