Soledad in the orthen Salinas Valley.The northwestern section of Monterey County is Pinot Noir territory, from the ground up! A large corridor of ideal Pinot Noir soils run north to south, at the foot of the Santa Lucia Mountains, from Chualar down past Soledad. The alluvial ground – loam, sand, and cobbles, with outcroppings of limestone – is a major factor in producing excellent Pinot Noir with beautiful character and aromatics. Combine this geography with the climate of a warm, protected valley influenced by the cool marine air from Monterey Bay that sweeps down from the north through a wind tunnel, and this Pinot is truly in its element.
We have grapes from two fantastic areas within Monterey County. The tiny area of Arroyo Seco is blasted with maritime influences, driving winds, and saturated fog from the deep hyper-cold waters off Monterey Bay. Just perfect for Pinot Noir! The Santa Lucia Highlands AVA is rapidly becoming a legend in the wine world. This elevated mountain perch is planted on the terraces of the Santa Lucia mountain range, overlooking the Salinas River Valley. The fog and breezes from Monterey Bar funnel southeast, between the Gabilan and Santa Lucia ranges, creating a cool, true region 1 climate. VINE AGE: Average 17 year-old vines
YIELDS/ACRE: 3.0 tons per acre (due to poor weather during bloom and set)
VINE TRELLISING SYSTEM: “VSP” Vertical Shoot Positioning
WEATHER PECULIARITIES: An unusually cool spring which lasted through bloom and set resulted in a crop size that was 30-40% smaller than normal. Overall daytime and nighttime summer temperatures were warm, however, and, with the smaller crop speeding the ripening process, the short intermittent late-season moisture that most of the county saw did not seriously impact very successful harvesting in the second and third weeks of October.
WINEMAKING DETAILS: 100% stem removal, 72 hour cold soak prior to yeast incoluation. The wine was punched-down three times daily and fermented to dryness in open-top tanks for two weeks. Tank temperature was allowed to rise to a maximum of only 85ºF to minimize tannin extraction and enhance fruit expression; pomace was lightly pressed to 1.4 atmospheres pressure. ML inoculation took place in tank; after 5 days the wine was transferred to French oak barrels for completion. The wine was aged in two and three-year-old French oak barrels for about ten months.
WINEMAKER’S COMMENTS: Ripe, inviting aromas of black cherry, plum, and violets are accented by gentle sweet oak. Surprisingly forward on the palate, the wine’s plush tannins frame flavors of baked cherry, strawberry, and spice cake, with a touch of anise.