The grapes for this Deep End
Pinot Noir are grown primarily in Navarro's mountain vineyards where the cooler temps at higher elevations and the vines' exposure to the ocean's breezes cause the fruit to ripen later in the season. October nights are cold in Philo so the late-ripening fruit has more acidity and the resulting wines have a longer aging potential. Surrounded by forest and rangeland, the upper vineyards produce wines that boast an aromatic, almost floral, sauvage component. This is especially true of our highest vineyard, the Marking Corral, which is sited 1,000 feet above the valley floor.
Pinot Noir clusters with millerandage—a mixture of big and little berries. Winemakers embrace this condition as the small berries have a high ratio of skins to juice thereby encouraging more intense red wines. Growers are less enthusiastic since the clusters weigh less.
Manuel rolling in a new barrel; we purchase about 150 barrels each year from coopers in Burgundy. For shipment, the barrels are wrapped with plastic film and the ends covered with cardboard inserts. The barrels behind Manuel on the left are seasoned and the barrels on the right are new, still wrapped in film with inserts.
This was the last Pinot Noir vineyard harvested on October 8 and produced wine with an exceptionally rich and long finish in 2021; the site accounts for 53% of this Deep End cuvée. The Middle Ridge vineyard is about 500 feet above the valley and is the most affected by the chilly ocean breezes. The grapes were harvested on October 7 and the primary flavor profile of this vineyard—30% of this bottling—is bright red cherry with very gentle tannins and a long finish. The final 17% of this cuvée was produced from grapes grown in our South Hill vineyard, near the valley floor; this selection brings in black cherry notes and adds weight to the mid-palate completing the wine. Gold Medal winner.