2015 Estate Pinot Noir
The Vintage: After a wet and cold winter and a long cool spring in 2017, we couldn't be happier with what we are seeing with the fruit from this year's crop. Although the yields are a little light, the fruit is beautiful. This is reminiscent of the current release. Indeed, the yields in 2015 were significantly lower throughout the region, in some cases, by as much as half, likely in response to the 3rd straight year of severe drought. The winter of 2015 was mild and dry and bud break came a few weeks early, and so, in turn, did harvest. The 2015 crop was small, both in tonnage and berry size. This creates a special opportunity for a dark and powerful Pinot Noir and bright, fresh Chardonnay due to more intense flavors concentrated in the juice and an increase in skin contact. The benefits of this combination are exciting! While the wines are showing beautifully now, they will be even richer and more elegant as they mellow in the months and years to come. These wines really convey all the attributes so special and unique to this place; power and density balanced with brightness all framed with a strong sense of the nearby ocean.
Production: 215 cases 12.5% alc.
The site: Organically farmed and planted on tierra loam soils as well as diatomaceous outcroppings (lots of crushed sea shells and river rocks), this very west slope gets pounded by the onshore flow coming off the Pacific. The struggle these vines endure to send their roots deep into the signature Sta. Rita Hills dense black clay soil to steady themselves against the constant wind from this elevated plot give the fruit’s juice added complexity.
Tasting Notes: This vintage is exceptionally dense and powerful with deep texture and elegant balance. The wine has its signature bright red, stone fruit, bright, fresh acidity balanced by a savory medium, mid-palette weight from 20% whole stem inclusion.
Winemaking: The berries were dark & powerful with small clusters, allowing us to go big on stems for this vintage, about 50%. The fruit fermented for about 18 days in open top vats with 1 or 2 punch downs most days. The fruit was then pressed to barrel for 14 months on lees before being racked, blended, and put back down to barrel for an additional 4 months of cellaring before being bottled and put to sleep for 6 months. Overall, the wine saw about 40% new French oak. Predominately from clones 115 and 667, with a smaller amount of 2A. No acidification. No chaptalization.
Vinous Review: 94 points
A rush of intense red fruit hits the palate, bold and racy, but with plenty of structure. The 2015 has developed into a powerful wine in an especially dark, almost brooding personality. It will need time to be at its best, but there is much to look forward to. Ideal drinking window: 2020-2030 ~Anthony Galloni