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1995 Carneros Pinot Noir

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About the Vineyard...
The 1995 Ancien Pinot noir comes from 24 year old vines (Owned by Domaine Chandon) in the Carneros region of the Napa Valley. The vineyard is located on a northeastern slope in thin sandy, clay/loam soil with excellent drainage. The combination of vine age and the north eastern slope (sheltering the vines from the brisk Carneros winds) makes this a unique site. Located in southern Carneros (with a view of San Pablo bay), this is a cool site even by Carneros standards. The fruit expresses itself with intense earthy, mushroom, and sometimes meaty aromas. Dark red fruit predominates with anise, spice, and blackberry notes providing added complexity.

About the Vintage...
Overall the 1995 vintage appears to be a little more variable compared to the consistent quality of the much hyped 1994 vintage. This variability was hit at crop set as we received rains at bloom that affected some vineyards. Our vineyard had an average to slightly below average crop. Ripening in September was cool resulting in a late vintage. While perhaps not quite as forward early on as the 94 was, it has great depth of fruit and more structure. It may well prove to be the better vintage down the road.

About the Wine...
The grapes were 100% destemmed into an open top fermenter and punched down 3 times per day at the beginning of fermentation. This was decreased to 2 times per day by the end of fermentation. A small innoculum of "Assmannshausen" cultured yeast made for a slow start to fermentation, allowing us to "work" the fruit assuring full extraction of the fruit. once the fermentation started, it roared, peaking at 94F. The wine was gently pressed AT dryness and went directly to barrel. The wine was aged entirely in french oak from the coopers Francois Freres, Billon, and Dargaud Jaegle. 33% new oak was used. The wine was racked once prior to bottling. Wine movements were done by gravity or by pushing with inert gas in the production of this wine a l l the way until bottling. Wine analysis: Alc. 13.6%, pH 3.68, ta 6..1 g/l. , r.s. 0.01 g/l. 250 cases produced.

Tasting Notes...
Dark red fruits: Black cherry and Blackberry, chocolate, cola, sl. anise/spice and toasty aromas in the nose. broad palate with focused blackberry and dark cherry fruit following through in the mouth. Coffee, toasted grains, and sweet vanillin provide complexity to the flavors. The typically firm tannins and acidity give the wine exceptional structure.