In 2009 we produced our first Rosé of Pinot Noir. The wine was so popular we inadvertently oversold it within a few weeks. We remember enjoying the wine but we didn't have much to taste since we had to raid our personal cellar to provide wine to Navarro customers when it was oversold. Oops! This year, we tried to expand production a little by utilizing all the grapes in the Chalone block where previously we had only used a portion of the field for rosé. Being eternal tinkers, we puzzled over improving the 2009 blend. We decided to try adding another clone of Pinot Noir with a different flavor profile. In 2010 we purchased several tons of FPMS clone 18 from 30 year old vines from our neighbors.
Night harvesting Hammer Olsen Chalone selection Pinot Noir for rosé, October 2010. The fruit from this vineyard always has bright, fresh strawberry-cherry flavors which we thought would make a delicious rosé; it doesn't disappoint!
We planted the upper portion of the Hammer Olsen block in 1990 to a field selection from Chalone Vineyards located near Pinnacles National Monument. A field selection (sélection massale) describes planting a vineyard by propagating cuttings from a number of plants, perhaps representing several clones, from an existing vineyard.
Each lot was de-stemmed, allowed to macerate on the skins until we had extracted enough flavor and body, and then cool fermented as separate lots. In the winter, the wine produced from clone 18 was quite nice but its herbal character caused us to limit its addition to 6% of the final blend and once again we bottled less than planned. A bouquet of Cecile Brunner roses leads to crisp flavors of fresh strawberry shortcake and guava to accompany the brightest spring flavors, especially as the weather starts to warm. We're keeping a private stash in our personal cellar.