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Mink Vineyard
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Mink Vineyard

...The Terroir of Tufa
Napa Valley
Bill and Angela Mink, Owners
Pinot Noir (Swan, 115)

The Mink Vineyard is located next door to the winery, in an area known locally as Coombsville. Open to the same morning fogs and afternoon breezes that cool Carneros to the west, Coombsville is consistently one of the coolest pockets in Napa. Mink sits on a level bench just leeward of a knoll that slows down the prevailing maritime winds, allowing cooler air to settle, and making Mink's microclimate a couple degrees cooler, even, than the surrounding hills. But the real secret to Mink's explosive flavors, smooth, mouth-coating minerality, comes from the soil. Underneath the top few feet of alluvial clays and cobblestones (typical throughout the southern reaches of Napa), is a layer of compressed volcanic ash, called tufa. The tufa drains the top soils, storing moisture in rich clays underneath. The vines are able, with some work, to grow roots into the tufa layer, accessing moisture during the long, dry growing season. In a typical year, Mink can be practically dry-farmed.