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2007 Carneros Pinot Noir

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About the Vineyard...
Our 2007 Carneros designate comes predominantly from the Toyon Farm, located on the eastern, Napa, side of Carneros, on a fan-shaped, south-west facing slope. Underneath the typical Carneros clay and alluvial soils are layers of shale, which add spicy notes to the darker, more brooding flavors and aromas. We planted the first block of this vineyard in 1998 with cuttings originating from the Swan estate in the Russian River Valley--and these, in turn, were brought from Burgundy by Joseph Swan in the 1950's and '60's. Our selection of Swan clones tends to produce smaller berries and deep structures. So, in 1999, we added a block of Dijon 115, which with its characteristic perfume and lighter fruit notes, provides a winning complement to the Swan.  In addition, we introduced a small amount of old vine, Martini selection fruit from a nearby vineyard, adding lighter layers of floral aromas, sandalwood, and red fruits.

About the Vintage...
The weather in 2007 remained cool and steady throughout August and September, allowing the grapes to achieve optimal ripeness levels without sacrificing acidity, resulting in wines that come close to that difficult to realize platonic point of balance between power and grace, depth and vivacity.  We expect that our decision to pick while acidity remained high, as well as our detailed attention to maximum fruit extraction, will allow these wines to preserve bright uplift and focused fruit on the mid-palate, even as they continue to age, deepening and adding exciting layers, such as spice, mushroom, cacao, and forest floor.

About the Wine...
We separated the entire lot into 1 ton, open-top fermenters, employing traditional punch-downs by hand in order to achieve optimal extraction. About 5% of the fruit was fermented as whole clusters, and we co-fermented some of the Swam and Dijon 115 lots, adding new layers of complexity and harmony between the different fruits.  The wine was aged in an array of French cooperage, nearly half new, and gently racked once prior to bottling.  Grapes, must, and wines were moved using gravity through to the barrel and using inert gas through racking and bottling. 1031 cases produced.

Tasting Notes...
The nose opens with a burst of fresh, just-ripened cherry fruits moving towards a richer dried cranberry and kirsch, spiced with chocolate, cloves, and baking spices.  Aromas open up to exhibit an exotic, perfumed overlay of sarsaparilla, cola, sandalwood, rose petal and lilac.  The palate is well-structured, exhibiting a balanced basket of black, brambly fruit, plum, ripe cherry and strawberry, spiced with cardamom and dark chocolate.  The midpalate is lush and deep, lifted with a fresh wash of acidity and followed by mouth-filling tannins.  This wine will grow darker and deeper with time, finding a more brooding expression after 3-5 years, and the balanced structure of acidity and tannin will support the graceful aging of this wine for the next decade.