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2004 Carneros Pinot Gris

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About the Vineyard...
2004 marks the return of Ancien Pinot Gris. 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. Our next step was to find the site. We hoped to find well drained clay soils in a cool area. A telephone call to Mike Sangiacomo yielded the perfect spot - the far southwestern edge at the family's El Novillero Vineyard. The soils and eastern facing orientation seemed perfect. We started with two clones recently 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 that only Pinot Gris the Sangiacomo family grow.

About the Vintage...
While we are still learning what will constitute a great Carneros Pinot Gris vintage, we are happy with the results from 2004. We had hoped to harvest a small amount of fruit in 2003 but at the 11th hour the crop was lost to the birds. With all the surrounding vineyards untouched, we were disappointed at our lost but hopeful the birds' preference was indicative of great things to come. With a little help from the bird netting, in 2004 we managed to see a moderate crop the ripened evenly under warm conditions in early September.

About the Wine...
The grapes were well extracted by pressing as whole clusters then racked into used French oak for fermentation. A cultured yeast, Cotes de Blanc, was added for its ability to emphasize floral fruit notes. The primary fermentation was carried out entirely in barrel 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 as to keep its freshness and focus which comes with the lively acidity. Wine analysis: Alc. 14%, pH 3.36, TA 6.1 g/l. , RS 0.2 g/l. 240 cases produced.

Tasting Notes...
Aromas of tangerine, honeydew, melon,green apple, and grapefruit zest echo in the flavors on the palate accompanied by rich and creamy texture, refreshing acidity and exotic key lime flavors in the finish. Firmly structured, the wine will continue to flesh out in the months and years ahead with additional layers and complexities to follow.