2015 Mount Carmel 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: 4 barrels
The Site: 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 are planted 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 about 18 days of fermentation in open vats, the grapes were pressed to barrel. The dark, powerful small clusters allowed us to add stems this year and, in a big way, about 50%. 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 acidification. No chaptalization.