This is one of our first 2017 Pinot Noir bottlings released from this vintage. It was a good season with two difficulties which we completely avoided: early September heat and late October fires. Since I like to harvest on the earlier side of our ‘window’, when the weather is warmer than usual and things move faster than normal, we still end up with fruit harvested within ‘the window.’ As I have very good long-term relationships with the vineyards we buy fruit from and with the vineyard management companies we have crossed paths with over the years, I can request and have granted, favors to get fruit picked when it is difficult to find labor. Adapting once again to what nature brings our way.
The King Family vineyard site differs from all the other Pinot Noir vineyards we work with in three ways. It is on Huichica soil (rather than Goldridge for all the others), it lies to the east of the Laguna de Santa Rosa and it represents older-style viticultural choices (rootstock and wider spacing). This is the old tried-and-true ‘pommard clone’ that has flourished in the area for many decades. It has thicker skins and it tolerates unusually warm weather at harvest when the skins are more prone to dehydration much better than more recent additions to the area. It tends to break dormancy later and ripens later in the season (when heat spikes of Labor Day are long passed) than our other sites as well. In short, it’s a good fit of site and clone.
Dark cherry cola, baking spices, rose hips and fresh loam on the nose, it has a silky texture and rich body that cloaks its substantial structure. I know there is a substantial amount of new French oak in this wine, but you’d never guess that. It soaks it up and incorporates it in the best way – invisibly. The finish echoes the aromas and is very persistent and uplifting, inviting another taste. This could be the most harmonious vintage from this site for us.