2016 The Drawing Board Estate Pinot Noir
Production: 400 cases 13.1% alc. AVA: Sta. Rita Hills
Harvested: 9/1/16 Farming ~ Organic
The Vintage: 2016 welcomed the end of the 3-year drought with some ground soaking precipitation. The wet winter was followed by intermittent rains during a mild spring. There was some extreme heat in the region during late September, but our fruit was picked by then and our vineyard was not affected. The vines welcomed the drought-‐‑relief by producing a good quality bloom and fruit set, followed by a long growing season and a healthy harvest. The 2016 berries were plump and juicy. Still, the yields in 2016 were slightly below average throughout the region. The long, cool growing season produced a complexity in the juice that is compelling. The climate and rugged topography of our site conveys all the attributes so special and unique to this place; power, elegance and density balanced with minerality and brightness, all framed with a strong sense of the nearby ocean.
The site: Organically farmed, the vines are planted on tierra loam soils as well as diatomaceous outcroppings (lots of crushed sea shells, black clay and broken river rocks). This elevated, southwest slope gets pounded by the onshore flow coming off the Pacific Ocean. The vines send their roots deep into this signature Sta. Rita Hills dense, microbial black clay soil to steady themselves against the constant beating of the sea breeze. It is this condition that gives the fruit’s juice added boldness and complexity.
Winemaking: The berries were picked before first light and came into the cellar cool, dark & juicy. The wine blends all blocks from our Estate vineyard, as well as grapes from our older vines on our acre on Mt. Carmel. The grapes were pressed to barrel after 14 days fermenting in large open vats in the cellar with about 15% whole stem inclusion in the finished wine. The wine spent 18 months in barrels, about 20% new French Oak, and was bottled in February 2018. No fining, no filtration, no chaptalization.
Tasting Notes: This vintage is exceptionally aromatic with a wonderful juiciness. There is dried stone fruit with deep texture from the whole stem inclusion giving the finished wine an elegant balance, structure and will allow the wine to age nicely in the bottle. But the wine is ready to enjoy now, as there is plenty of fresh, red stone fruit and bright acidity, giving the wine a pleasing, lip-‐‑smacking liveliness.