Sta. Rita Hills
At Clos Pepe, as elsewhere in 2005, we had a really large potential crop and lots of vine vigor, so considerable effort was spent in the vineyard. We carefully went through adjusting the crop to get an even amount of fruit on each vine and just the right amount of sunlight on each cluster. Numerous passes had to be made to get it right; however, by late summer the vineyard looked better than ever before. And on September 1st we picked the first half of the vineyard at slightly under 24 brix. The weather was so mild we were able to wait until September 17th to pick the other half at about 26 brix. (The measure winemakers use for the sugar content of grapes is brix, which is identical to percent sugar-26 brix is equal to 26% sugar.)
The two wines were fascinating to watch as they matured in the barrel. The riper wine had a much fatter, richer feel and an emphatically fruity aroma and flavor. It was a crowd pleaser, but the wine-geek staff here thought it lacked punch. The less ripe batch had a completely different profile. It captured a floral aromatic quality that was reminiscent of rose petals–it was just stunning. The flavors were crisper, finer and more overtly tannic. We decided to blend the two lots and think the resulting combination is marvelous. Like the chardonnay from Clos Pepe, this wine is intensely flavored and precise. There is no bling or nonsense here–you get the unadorned beauty of this special vineyard site. By the way, we kept out one barrel of the less ripe lot as a curiosity and bottled it separately–it is also available for sale at our website.
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir | Vinification: 30% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 15 Months | Total Production: 642 cases
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar
“Bright red. Explosively perfumed, exotic bouquet of red berries, cherry, fresh rose and minerals. Gracefully balanced strawberry and raspberry flavors gain weight and take on a darker character with air, but retain impressive urgency and clarity. Finishes with impressive brisk persistence and an echo of raspberry.” – JR 92 points