2013 THE FORAGER Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Splendid Pinot Noir at the price: excellent flavor and balance, a persistent finish.
THE FORAGER Pinot Noir illustrates that careful, experienced selection, blending and maturation of Pinot Noir lots grown in diverse coastal locations can deliver delicious flavors and interest without the luxury “single-vineyard” price tag.
Excellent low yielding sites, classic low-impact Burgundian winemaking techniques and careful maturation in top new French oak capture the typicity of these sites - and the purity of this noble red grape variety.
In 2013 Mother Nature brought us beautiful sunny skies and clear, cool nights throughout the entire season and will likely go down in the books as “exceptional”. It allowed us to tinker along the seams, to refine the minutiae, rather than make broad strokes to save a crop - or glean the best from not-so-great lots and cull out the ones to sell off.
Hand-harvested between September 18 and October 4, these compact Pinot Noir bunches were hand-sorted, mostly destemmed, crushed and cold soaked for 2 days in five-ton open-top fermenters. A small portion went whole cluster adding nice “grip”. Fermentation began naturally and was completed with cultured Burgundian yeast. Moderate fermentation temperatures (87°F) and 2 pigeage (punch-downs) per day helped build structure, color and texture. After a gentle press, ML took place in barrel followed by eleven months maturation (no racking) which contributed nuanced spiciness and a velvety mouth-feel. We call our wine THE FORAGER to illustrate how growing, gathering & judiciously blending small lots of delicious Pinot Noir can deliver serious flavor and interest.
The complexity of our 2013 Pinot Noir comes from three clones grown in two locales on the chilly Sonoma Coast, a terrific spot for exemplary cool-climate Pinot Noir. Both sites were hand-pruned and picked. The soils in these low yielding, wind-swept sites range from the famed “Goldridge” to shallow gravelly loams. Each site and clone provided different aromas, flavors & structure and we developed the blend from these diverse components. The first site, representing 50% of the vintage, is less than seven miles from the coast at an elevation of almost 1,000 feet with 15-30 degree slopes. It was densely planted a decade ago and features Guyot training with 16-18 clusters per vine of 115, 777 and “heritage” selections. The second site (50% of the vintage) is situated in the southern section of the AVA, offers clones 777 and 115 and contributes richness and depth.