2017 FORAGER Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
- Our FORAGER Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir illustrates that careful, experienced growing, selection, blending and maturation of Pinot Noir lots grown in diverse coastal locations can deliver delicious flavor and interest.
- 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.
The complexity of our 2017 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 45% of the vintage, is less than seven miles from the coast, west of Sebastopol at an elevation of almost 700 feet with 15 degree slope. It was planted in 2001 to Dijon clones 114, 115 and Pommard 5. The second site (45% of the vintage) is situated northwest of Forestville in Russian River and offers clones 777 and 115 and contributes richness and depth. The balance comes from a small site near the town of Sonoma.
Vintage 2017 started with very heavy precipitation, which we needed. Spring was average in temperature and precipitation, but the early summer included some heat spikes which reduced yields. Pinot clusters ended up being small-sized and thus the size of the crop was low, but quality very high.
Hand-harvested between September 7 and 12, the 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 fermented “whole cluster” adding nice “grip”. Fermentation began with prevailing, local yeasts and was completed with cultured Burgundian yeast. Moderate fermentation temperatures (88°F) and 1 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. New French oak play a minor role in its aromatics. We call our wine FORAGER to illustrate how growing, gathering & judiciously blending small lots of delicious Pinot Noir can deliver serious flavor and interest.
Regional Composition: 100% Sonoma Coast AVA Clone/Selections: 114, 115, Pommard 5 Maturation: 25% New French Barrels for eleven months