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2006 Carneros Pinot Gris

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About the Vineyard...
Our Pinot Gris is grown by the Sangiacomo family at their El Novillero site. We had experimented with a few barrels between 1999 and 2001. Based on that success, we decided to embark on a larger scale project endeavoring to make a Pinot Gris modeled upon the richer flavored, fuller bodied Alsatian style. The clay soils and eastern facing orientation at Novillero are ideal for the rich and structured style we were aiming for. Mike Sangiacomo planted the vineyard to our specs in 2002. We started with two clones imported from Alsace: #152 and #146. The first yields more flowery and aromatic notes while the second, denser and more structured with flint and spice notes. Our two acre block is currently the only Pinot Gris the Sangiacomo family grow.

About the Vintage...
The 2006 vintage provided us with beautiful Spring conditions and the fruit set well. Late rains in May made for plump berries and botrytis pressure which did not not present a challenge to the decades of experience the Sangiacomos' bring to grape growing. The fruit was thinned and leaves were pulled to ensure clean fruit that developed lush fruit flavors.

About the Wine...
The grapes were hand harvested at night resulting in grapes in the low 50s' as they went into the press as whole clusters. We pressed to maximize extraction of the spice and structure of Pinot Gris. A cultured yeast, Cotes de Blanc, was added for its ability to emphasize floral fruit notes. The primary fermentation was carried out entirely in neutral barrels at a cool 50 F to capture and retain rich fruit flavors. The lees were stirred upon completion of fermentation to enhance texture and encourage development. The wine did not undergo malolactic fermentation. Wine analysis: Alc. 14%, pH 3.36, TA 6.8 g/l. , RS 0.2 g/l. 580 cases produced.

Tasting Notes...
Lemon, tangerine, honeysuckle, melon, green apple, and grapefruit provide the exotic backdrop to our Pinot Gris. Lemon zest, spice, almond paste, and subtle tropical notes echo in the flavors on the palate accompanied by creamy texture that is a little tight upon release. Nice acidity, mineral, spice, and key lime flavors drive the wine through to the finish. The wine will develop nicely in the months and years ahead.