2017 The Drawing Board Estate Pinot Noir
Production: 175 cases 13.2% alc. AVA: Sta. Rita Hills
Harvested: 9/4/17 Farming ~ Organic
The Vintage: 2017 enjoyed another wet winter, followed by intermittent rains during a warm growing season. The vines produced a short blooming period which led to a smaller-than-average fruit set. A strange tropical system rolled through during the harvest window and we got the fruit off just before a bizarre micro-burst that hit the Santa Barbara area., The fruit came into the winery in healthy clusters, albeit the yields were below average. The 2017 berries were slightly smaller from the previous vintage, but plump and flavorful producing an expressiveness in the juice that is compelling. The climate and rugged topography of our site conveys in the wine all the attributes so special and unique to this place; power and structure balanced with minerality, citrus notes with a hint of salinity, 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 seashells, 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 dark 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.
Tasting Notes: This vintage is exceptionally bright and expressive with a wonderful juiciness. There are red fruits with deep texture from the whole stem inclusion giving the finished wine an elegant structure and the cool, damp winter and warm spring that marked the 2017 growing season will allow the wine to show nicely now, but there will be plenty to love over the next few years. The fruit and bright acidity give the wine a pleasing, lip-smacking liveliness.
Winemaking: The berries were dark & powerful. The fruit fermented for about 14-18 days in open top vats with 1 or 2 punch downs most days, about 20% whole cluster. 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 laid down. Overall, the wine saw about 15% new French oak. The wine blends fruit from all the Pinot Blocks plus some fruit from our older vines on Mt. Carmel. No chaptalization.