2014 Mount Carmel Estate Pinot Noir
The Vintage: The 2014 vintage has its own signature, perhaps from the vines enduring the 2nd full year of severe drought. The benefits of training the vines to go deep (with low-irrigation) and regular application of thick blankets of mulch (to hold in moisture), have definitely assisted in lowering the stress on the vines. Overall, the yields were actually higher than usual for most of the region, including Wenzlau Vineyard. Perhaps it was some panic or stress in the vines (from the ongoing drought) that caused the higher production in even our pruned-to-low-yield vines. The winter of 2014 was mild and dry and bud break came a few weeks early, and so, in turn, did harvest. The result for this vintage is very fresh, mineral, deeply soulful, and pure juice. These wines really convey all the attributes so special and unique to this place; precision, clarity, and power all framed with a strong sense of the nearby ocean.
The Site: Production: 4 barrels Harvested 9/14/14 Single vineyard, single block, single clone (667), this bottling is from our single acre across the canyon and is part of the famed Mt. Carmel site, where the 2nd oldest vines in the Sta. Rita Hills are planted. It is a breezy, south facing plot where the old vines' feet grip the dark, diatomaceous clay and produce dark, brooding clusters.
Tasting Notes: The fruit coming from these old vines is hitting on all cylinders. The vines of the rough and hearty 667 clone have its feet in dark, diatomaceous clay which gives the wine its structure. The earthiness is evident in the flavor profile. Wild cherry, dark plum and sweet spices are balanced by a savory mid-palette weight.
Winemaking: After fermentation, the grapes were pressed to barrel. The wine saw about 30% new French oak, racked off lees after 14 months in barrel, blended, and back down to barrel for an additional 4 months of cellaring before being bottled and put to sleep for 6 months. No stems. Filtered. No acidification. No chaptalization.