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1999 Russian River Pinot Noir

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About the Vineyard...
The Poplar Vineyard (aka Kent Ritchie Vineyard) is located just down the street from the Swan Estate vineyard. It was planted in 1974. The vineyard is planted to an unknown clone of Pinot Noir - possibly the Wente selection(?). The soils are a very light sandy loam, almost powdery after cultivation. Throughout the vineyard there are volcanic outcroppings where ash is at the surface. This suggests underlying volcanic ash at varying depths throughout the vineyard. The drainage is excellent and the vigor moderate. The vines are deep rooted and tend to do very well with minimal irrigation - much like the Mink vineyard.

About the Vintage...
1999 was a very cool and later than average vintage. The Poplar vineyard tends to ripen in mid-season for us, placing it after Carneros but before Sonoma Mountain. In 1999, it came in during the same intense 5 day stretch as Russian River, Carneros, and Sonoma Mountain. While it was the most hectic vintage on record for us, we see the quality as exceptional.

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 96F. The wine was pressed at dryness. The wine was aged entirely in French barrels from the Francois Freres cooperage, 50% new. 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. 13.8 %, pH 3.68, ta 5.9 g/l. , r.s. 0.01 g/l. 65 cases produced.

Tasting Notes...
Whiffs of smoke and toast are followed by white pepper, spice, bing cherry and black cherry in the aromas. The wine is broad and bright with rich sweet fruit and leather undertones on the palate. Finishes long with a supple texture.