1999 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 Mt. George area due east of the city of Napa
(also known as Coombsville). This is a cool area that enjoys a cool backdraft of air conditioning from the San
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 porosity. 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. 13.9 %, pH 3.65, ta 5.8 g/l. , r.s. 0.01 g/l. 85 cases
Aromas tend toward baking spices, blueberry, blackberry and plum, deep toned fruit, dark chocolate, and tar.
Deep and 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. Remains tight - will benefit from
additional bottle age.