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2011 Carneros "Toyon Farm"

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About the Vineyard...

Toyon Farm is located on a southwest-facing slope on the eastern (Napa) side of the Carneros and is owned by Ed and Camille Penhoet. 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.  Several years later, Ed added a third block of Pinot Noir vines with a rich and storied provenance that reaches back through the history of Pinot Noir in Burgundy’s Cote d’Or as well as California’s coastal regions--we are calling the grapes from this block the “P” clone.

About the Vintage...

2011 began cool, with later bud break. Flowering and fruit set was disrupted by heavy and uncharacteristically late rain storms. This limited fruit production considerably resulting in significantly lower yields, sometimes as low as half of typical production. The summer remained cool--one of the coolest on record--pushing the harvest date back further into September and yielding wines with a tremendous, bright acidity. In the end, vineyard management and assiduous farming practices helped to insure that this well-situated vineyard ripened properly, with rich, mouth-filling tannic structure.

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. Less than 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.  The blocks of Swan, Dijon 115, and the mysterious “P“ clone were kept separate through barrel aging and blended afterward. Grapes, must, and wines were moved using gravity through to the barrel and using inert gas through racking and bottling. 117 cases produced.

Tasting Notes...

This wine produces a perky spiciness that melds effortlessly into a rich and palate coating smoothness. Opening with ripe cherry notes, well-spiced with pepper, graphite, and clove, over top aromas of dried plum and strawberry and cranberry.  The palate is dominated by an almost visceral layer of mouth-coating tannins and mid-palate flavors of cherry, plum, strawberry, orange peel, and balanced with a bright, palate-lifting acidity. It finishes with long, spicy tannins atop a bright acidity. This wine is structured to age gracefully for a dozen years or more.