Dark ruby in the glass, aromas of dark cherries and raspberry mingle with nuances of licorice. Soft and velvety, robust with a voluptuous and full-bodied mouthfeel, the palate unfolds with decadent layers of intense chocolate-covered dark red cherries, and a delicate hint of wild sage. A long, lingering finish instills a lasting impression of rich, concentrated flavors in this premium Pinot Noir wine.
– James Ewart, Winemaker
The 2019 Monterey Pinot Noir growing season had cool and moderate weather return to Monterey County and made harvest more aligned with a typical coastal winegrowing timeline. Mild temperatures, overnight fog and afternoon winds provided extra hang-time desired for great phenolic development which this region typically enjoys. With no real significant heat spikes, the grapes were allowed to slowly ripen and create intense fruit flavors signature to this variety. This was a harvest of excellent quality.
Our veteran winemaker, James Ewart, oversees the team and the small-lot winery built in the vineyard. With James at the helm, fruit for this wine was picked vine-by-vine based on ripeness over a two-week window. Most of the grapes were harvested and then processed through our new gentle destemmer and sorter, which keeps much of the whole fruit intact. This is important for preserving the delicate aromas. Following a hand-sort to remove any remaining leaves, the grapes were transferred directly into small, stainless steel open-top fermenters. We then employ the “saignée” method, which refers to the process of bleeding or pulling juice from a tank of red must that is just beginning fermentation. The wine is then pumped out of the fermenting tank and back over the cap to facilitate extraction of color and flavor – often referred to as “délestage.” The must remaining in the tank has a higher proportion of grape skins to juice, resulting in a richer and more concentrated red wine. This process is followed by a five-day cold soak accompanied by manual punch-downs 3-6 times throughout the day in order to extract color and tannin from the skins and to reduce the bitterness that can be imparted by the seeds. After fermentation, wines were gently pressed into predominantly French oak barrels to undergo malolactic fermentation yielding greater color stabilization.
This wine was aged in predominantly French barrels. One of our favorite coopers is François Frères which adds dark toasty notes and gives the wine nice length. A portion of these barrels had their heads toasted to really accentuate those toasty aromas. The wine spent about twelve months in barrels (~33% new) before blending when James tasted each lot and selected the lots for the final blend.
Richly-flavored and full-bodied, this Pinot Noir does not shy away from heartier fare. Serve with a dry-rubbed porterhouse steak, roast duck – the pairings are endless.
90 Points Wine Enthusaist – “This is a rich style of Pinot Noir, beginning with aromas of dark plum, black cherry, cola, root beer and nutmeg on the nose. It’s quite opulent on the palate, with baked fig and fruitcake flavors, as polished tannins and fine acidity pump into the long, vanilla-fueled finish.”