We're nervous Pinot Noir farmers. In 2006 we thinned our Pinot fields three times to balance the vines well before veraison, the time when grapes start to color and ripening speeds up. The berries were uniform in size, as opposed to the two prior vintages that displayed a mixture of normal and tiny berries. The ratio of skins to juice is higher in vintages with mixed berry size resulting in wines with stronger skin tannins and flavors. When the berries are similar in size, the ratio of juice to skins is higher and the aromatic free-run juice flavors dominate. Some winemakers try to bleed off or saignée some of the free-run juice to concentrate their Pinots. Experience has taught us that this is a poor idea. Clive Coates in The Wines of Burgundy points out one problem with saignée: "free run juice is very aromatic, and a wine without these aromas risks being a little humdrum, lacking high tones." This vintage may not be quite as intense as the previous two but the Pinot perfume and silky flavors will make you swoon with pleasure.
Pinot Noir clusters in 2006 were all composed of normal sized berries, as opposed to clusters in 2008 and most years with peas and pumpkins. "Perfumed with cherries, roses and tea, and both cherries and herbs leap out on the palate. Oak is deftly integrated. Beautifully crafted and harmonious, a terrific Pinot and one of the best tasted this Festival weekend. A steal at this price." -PrinceofPinot.com
A vine canopy is a solar collector and research suggests that a shoot of active green leaves 1.2 meters long in the sun can fully ripen two small four ounce clusters of Pinot noir in a cool climate. We aim for this balance of active canopy to fruit weight when we prune, train shoots and thin clusters.
Warm days and cool nights enabled the grapes to ripen slowly while retaining brisk acidity. Since the harvest extended over a month we had plenty of time to ferment each of thirty vineyard lots separately. Secondary fermentation on the lees in French barrels added a vanilla and bacon element to the cherry-strawberry fruit. This bottling is so good it has garnered six Gold Medals. Best of Class.