2002 Napa Valley Pinot Noir
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About the Vineyard...
While California Pinot Noir producers have been looking (ourselves included) to new, exciting, emerging
north coast regions where the grape excels, we have always been cogniscent of the potential in
overlooked areas in our back yard. The Mink Vineyard is one such case. It is located in the Tulocay
area due east of the city of Napa (also known as Coombsville). This is a cool area that enjoys a
backdraft of air conditioning from the San Pablo Bay.
The soils are very special. The top three feet is a rocky alluvial soil, reddish beige in color with loads of
cobblestones. Below the alluvial is a layer of white volcanic ash approximately two feet deep. The
third layer is black clay. The roots work their way through the cobblestones down to the surface of the
ash. The ash provides excellent drainage as it is physically similar to limestone in porousity. The clay
provides a reservoir of moisture that is slowly wicked back to the vine through the ash - but the vine
has to work hard for it. The vines can be practically dry farmed, depending on the year, and develop a
very nice steady state system that is hard to achieve with drip irrigation. The vineyard is split equally
between Swan Selection and Dijon 115 clone of Pinot Noir.
About the Wine...
The grapes were 100% destemmed into an open top fermenter and cold soaked for 4 days. We
punched down by hand 4 times per day at the beginning of fermentation. This was decreased to 2
times per day by the end of fermentation. We innoculated with RC 212 yeast (a Burgundian isolate)
and fermented warm, peaking about 94°F. The wine was pressed at dryness. The wine was aged
entirely in French barrels from the Billon and Cadus cooperages. The wine was racked once prior to
bottling. Wine movements were made by pushing with inert gas all the way until bottling. Wine
analysis: Alc. 14%, pH 3.69, ta 5.7 g/l. , r.s. 0.01 g/l. 144 cases produced.
Blueberry, spice, blackberry and plum, dominate the youthful aromas. On the palate the wine is
loaded with black cherry/blackberry fruit, dark chocolate, and tar. Deeply concentrated with a firm
underlying structure and great length. The palate brims with mouth watering black fruits followed by
clove, cinnamon, spice in the finish. This wine will continue to unfold for 5 - 7 years.