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2010 Carneros Pinot Noir

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About the Vineyard...

Toyon Farm is located on a southwest-facing slope on the eastern (Napa) side of the Carneros. The top soil is a rich, dark clay that averages just around 24 inches in depth. These soils promote a dark, brooding fruit, emphasizing texture and tannin. We planted the first block of this vineyard in 1998 with cuttings originating from the Swan estate in the Russian River Valley--and these, in turn, were brought from Burgundy by Joseph Swan in the 1950's and '60's. A few years later, we planted a second block of Dijon 115 vines to balance the deepness of the Swan, emphasized in these soils, with some floral aromatics.

About the Vintage...

2010 was a challenge to the nerves as well as a chance for experienced wine makers to strut their stuff. In other words, those with experience were advantaged with the working knowledge of how best to manage their vineyards and to keep their fruit clean and healthy. Heavy spring rains were followed by a summer season that was significantly cooler than average. Toyon Farm weathered the coolness well, producing powerful and spicy fruit with softened tannins. The fruit was in the hopper before the early fall rains bedeviled many area vineyards, so rot was not a problem.

About the Wine...

We separated the entire lot into 1 ton, open-top fermenters, employing traditional punch-downs by hand in order to achieve optimal extraction. About 5% of the fruit was fermented as whole clusters. The wine was aged in an array of French cooperage, nearly half new, and gently racked once prior to bottling. Grapes, must, and wines were moved using gravity through to the barrel and using inert gas through racking and bottling. 643 cases produced.

Tasting Notes...

A well-structured, rich, and textural Pinot Noir with a supple roundness on the palate. The nose is full of fruit and spice, opening with aromas of plum, black cherry, strawberry, clove, rose petals and sandalwood. The palate is dominated by an almost visceral layer of mouth-coating tannins and mid-palate flavors of cherry, plum, strawberry, bramble berries, and balanced with a bright, palate-lifting acidity. The palate moves seamlessly towards a darker finish, with the fruit flavors developing into a dried fruit complexity coupled with tobacco and dark chocolate and a zesty minerality. This wine possesses a wonderful structural balance between acidity and tannins and promises to age gracefully, plumbing the depth of its hidden layers for the next 6-8 years.