Red Dog Vineyard
"Exotic and Wild"
Tom and Debbie Engel
Pinot Noir (Swan, 115, 777)
This is perhaps the most dramatic landscape that we work with. Perched on the steep east face of a high Sonoma Mountain ridgeline this vineyard offers sweeping vistas, challenging slopes, and exotic Pinot Noir. At just under 1000 feet of elevation, this ridge line sits unprotected by the Coastal Range, so at 17 miles inland from the Pacific, the vineyard experiences nearly unmitigated maritime influence and consistent, cooling breezes. The vineyard is on the lee side of the ridge line, meaning that it benefits from the cooling sea air draining down the slope, without the vines suffering from being buffeted directly.
This cool environment couples with consistent sunshine--the vineyard typically sits above the coastal fog--and ancient clay and loam soils, leached of nutrients over the aeons to produce flavors and aromas that are as dramatic as the surrounding landscape. The largest block of the vineyard is planted to a Swan Estate selection, and a second small block is planted to a combination of 115 and 777 clones.
Tom and Debbie Engel planted this vineyard for us in 2000, so it is still in its youthful stage. With each vintage, we learn to love it a little more. Already it is producing fruit that provides a high and balanced acidity as well as tremendous depth of flavor. But the real calling card of this vineyard is its wild and exotic aromas of dried rose and violets, anise, black tea, punctuated by fresh, just ripened raspberries.