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2007 Russian River Pinot Noir

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About the Vineyard...
The vast majority of this vintage comes from Gilbert Perez’s two acre vineyard in the southwestern corner of the appellation, only nominally protected by the coastal hills and open to the maritime influence of the Pacific Ocean. The soils here are loose, sandy, and well-drained, typical for the Russian River Valley, and known for producing explosive and aromatic fruit flavors.  The vineyard is entirely planted with Dijon 115 clones, which add perfumed aromas and light spice notes to the lush fruitiness obtained from the soils. We balance the Perez fruit, opulent, and hedonistic, with fruit from the Archer Vineyard, which emphasizes spice and pepper notes and tends to lift and lengthen the palate, adding layers and mystery to this heady wine.

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 fermented in our one ton, open-top tanks, layering the bottom 25% of each tank with whole clusters of fruit, adding structure and spice notes to the back palate and balancing the otherwise plush fruit of Gilbert’s Vineyard.  In addition, we added a small amount of Dijon clones 115 and 777 from the Archer Vineyard.  A warm fermentation with a combination of native and isolated Burgundian yeasts produced excellent and focused flavor extraction, complemented and completed with traditional punch-downs by hand. The wine was aged entirely in Francois Freres cooperage, half new, and racked once, gently, prior to bottling.  Grapes, must, and wines were moved using gravity through to the barrel and using inert gas through racking and bottling.  545 cases produced.

Tasting Notes...
The nose and palate of this wine present a consistent mirror to one another, with subtle changes that work forward from the long, finishing nose and and lingering after-taste.  The fresh, unctuous fruitiness shows wild cherry, ripe raspberry, strawberry, and blackberry, lifted with a delicate whiff of candied violets and rose petals.  Deeper notes of smoke, toast, pepper, coffee, cacao, and tobacco and a gripping tannic finish add layers of sophistication to the hedonism of the fruit.  This wine brings to mind the classic Pinot Noir descriptive, “An iron fist in a velvet glove.”  With time, the lushness of the fruit will settle, brining out a more silken texture and emphasizing a long, elegant finish.  We expect this wine to develop gracefully for 4-6 years, but this one may surprise us by going even longer.