Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
Vineyard: Black Knight
Appellation: Sonoma Coast
Aging: 10 months
Barrels: 50% New French Oak
50% Neutral French Oak
pH / TA: 3.37 / 6.8 g/L
Production: 104 Cases
2015 Pinot Noir - Black Knight Vineyard
The May cold snap that interfered with pollination in many of the region’s vineyards also affected these grapes. Yield was down and grape size was below average. Pinot Noir can be a challenging grape to grow for a number of reasons. Primarily, its clusters are very tight, which can lead to mold growth, and its grape skins are very thin and quickly shrivel under hot conditions. Fall 2015 was hot and dry so while the risk of mold was never an issue, I watched the clusters closely and sampled them multiple times per week to make sure they weren’t turning into raisins. Our Pinot Noir is produced from two different clones. Most Pinot Noir clones produce wines with distinct flavors and choosing which clones to blend can strongly affect the flavor of the final wine. The clones I chose to work with were #667 and #115. We picked the 667 clone on September 8th and the 115 clone on September 10th.
Making Pinot Noir requires a delicate hand and close attention to detail. The grapes from both clones were destemmed without crushing into open top fermenters and cold-soaked at 55 °F for four days. Prior to start of fermentation, the grapes from both clones were combined into one tank and the yeast was then added. As is typical with Pinot Noir, the fermentation was fast and furious and finished in only five days. One of the advantages of producing wine in small lots is that even with such a fast fermentation, temperatures never get too hot, which can negatively affect the flavor of the wine. I tasted and monitored the wine daily. When the desired flavor profile was reached the must was pressed to separate the skins and seeds and the wine was transferred into barrels and aged for 10 months in French oak barrels. This wine is a perfect representation of Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirs. It is full of intense red berry flavors, extremely complex, brightly acidic and balanced with soft lingering tannins. This was the first Pinot Noir I had ever produced and I could not have been happier with the outcome.
Gold Medal - 2019 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition