2011 THE FORAGER Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
THE FORAGER Pinot Noir illustrates that careful, experienced selection and blending of Pinot Noir lots grown in diverse coastal locations can deliver delicious flavors without the luxury "single-vineyard" price tag.
THE FORAGER Pinot Noir illustrates that careful, experienced selection and blending of Pinot Noir lots grown in diverse coastal locations can deliver delicious flavors without the luxury "single-vineyard" price tag. Low yields from excellent sites, minimalist Burgundian winemaking techniques and modest new French oak capture the typicity of these sites and the purity of this noble red grape variety.
RECOMMENDED - SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE'S 2011 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE
"Worthy Pinot on a budget is tough. But there remain a few brave folks willing to play in that sandbox. To get a peek at the light touch of last years vintage, there's the 2010 The Forager Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, made by Jonathan & Susan Pey, the Marin team behind Pey-Marin and several other labels. With a dusty earth edge to dusky plum and roast strawberry, it's got bulk but ample subtlety and proper oak. To use the name of another of the Pey's labels, it's textbook."
- Jon Bonné, "2011 gift guide: A wine for everyone on your list", San Francisco Chronicle, November 27, 2011
The complexity of our 2010 Pinot Noir comes from six clones grown in three locales on the chilly Sonoma Coast, a terrific locale for exemplary cool-climate Pinot Noir. The soils in these low yielding, wind-swept sites range from welldrained, shallow gravelly loam to denser clay loams. Each site and clone provides different aromas, flavors & structure. The first site is situated southwest of Sonoma Mountain and was planted in 2000 to Swan, Pommard, 667 and 115 clones. The second site is situated just west of Gravenstein Highway in the Russian River Valley section of the AVA and offers clones 777 and 828 which provide richness and depth. The final piece came from Los Carneros sub-section of the AVA, and added an earthiness and zippy quality we really like.
Hand-harvested between September 10 and October 3, these compact Pinot Noir bunches were hand-sorted,
destemmed, crushed and "cold soaked" for 2-3 days in small open-top fermenters. A small portion went whole cluster. Fermentation began naturally and was completed with cultured Burgundian yeast. Moderate fermentation temperatures (85-90Â°F) and 2 pigeage (punch-downs) per day helped build structure, color and texture. French oak barrels were airdried, "medium toast" and thirty percent new. Our goal is to make certain the French oak is seamlessly integrated into the wine - and not show our ability to overload it with expensive French oak. ML took place in barrel. Ten months maturation with one racking contributed nuanced spiciness and a velvety mouth-feel. We call this wine THE FORAGER to illustrate how gathering & judiciously blending small lots of delicious Pinot Noir can deliver serious flavor and interest.
The 2010 growing season will go down in the books as a cool season. The summer just never really "baked". This is good for a delicate grape such as Pinot Noir. After Labor Day, dry, warm days prevailed and chilly, clear nights led to a delicious crop of tasty Pinot bunches in September and October.