The Los Carneros AVA is located in both Sonoma and Napa counties and received its AVA status in 1983. The Carneros region covers 90 square miles and is centered along the low-lying hills of the Mayacamas range north of San Pablo Bay. The region features a sloping elevation ranging from 400 feet in the foothills to near sea level at San Pablo Bay. Los Carneros is settled by morning fog and moderately cool afternoons with strong winds off the bay. The soils are made of clay and are very shallow allowing for poor drainage. The winds coming off the San Pablo Bay and shallow soil force the vines to struggle and can delay the grapes from ripening, occasionally causing losses in yield and production. The slower ripening allows the grapes to develop complex flavors and balanced acidity. The cooler climate has made Los Carneros a premier region for the cultivation of cooler climate varietals like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Any who dare discount the noble Merlot, need not drink here! We love Merlot for its finesse, its mystery, its grace and power. We love the Truchard vineyard where these grapes are grown. This sweet spot, resting on a south facing hillside hidden far away from the road and passers-by provides just the sort of cool evenings and long, warm days that Merlot favors. Soft, sweet, juicy aromas of blueberry, pepper and fig bound from the glass making way for soft black cherry, tobacco leaf and cola on the palate. The ecstasy of its long, complicated finish calls for a dreamy, dramatic aria - Caro Mio Ben perhaps? - and if you can play it on vinyl, even better.
Our 2012 'Truchard Vineyard Pinot Noir from the Carneros region of Napa Valley begins with leather and smoke, then opens to ripe cranberry and raspberry fruit with a hint of smoked meats. 'Earth' comes to mind - followed by black cherry juice, maybe some ripe tomato, mushrooms and cinnamon. On the palate, the wine is so inviting, with strawberry jam, vanilla, rhubarb, truffle & cinnamon all wrapped around a hint of caramel apple. Think either a big, thick salmon steal grilled with some hickory chips or a tasty rib-eye grilled just past rare. Throw in a little acoustic guitar, good friends, some heady conversation, and you've got the perfect setting to enjoy this truly stunning wine.
The ‘Good Earth’ tier celebrates specific vineyards showcasing a distinct style of a particular varietal unique to that vineyard site. There is something about the soil at Truchard Vineyard that is very clearly distinct to this site and perfect for Pinot Noir. Maybe it is the soil, maybe it is the slope, maybe is the aspect to the sun, maybe it is the hand of the grower…or a combo of all…but it is clear this tastes like the place.
Truchard Vineyard is renowned as a shining example of all that the Carneros has to offer. Planting to the combination of Martini & Swan clones for this particular site was genius. Concentrated berries yield an intense, stylistic Pinot Noir that is signature ‘Truchard’. It is a dazzling expression of the Carneros.
Our Humanitas 2012 ‘Truchard Vineyard’ Pinot Noir begins with leather & smoke, and opens to ripe cranberry & raspberry fruit with a hint of smoked meats. ‘Earth’ comes to mind…followed by black cherry juice, maybe some ripe tomato, mushrooms & cinnamon. Lots happening in the glass!
On the palate, the wine is so inviting, with strawberry jam, vanilla, rhubarb, truffle & cinnamon all wrapped around a hint of a caramel apple. It is at once complex yet so easy to sip. I’m thinking that either a big, thick salmon steak grilled with some hickory chips or a tasty rib-eye grilled just past rare would do the trick. Throw in a little acoustic guitar, some good friends & some heady conversation and you’ve got a pretty nice setting to enjoy this truly stunning wine.
Bottling Date: August 26, 2013
Appellation: Carneros – Napa ‘Truchard Vineyard’ Designation
Blend: 100% Truchard Vineyards Pinot Noir
Clones: Martini & Swan
Wood: 10 months French Oak
The grapes for the 2012 Counter Punch Merlot were hand-harvested on September 28, 2012 from the Los Carneros AVA of Napa Valley at 24.0 Brix. "Classic" and "Perfect" are just two accolades being bestowed upon the 2012 Napa Valley growing season and harvest. Textbook conditions saw near-ideal spring bud break, steady flowering, even fruit set, and a lengthy stretch of warm days and cool and often foggy nights during the long summer months. Late and light rains held off until the grapes found optimal ripeness, bringing exceptional quality to the crush pad and into the cellar.
The fruit arrived at the winery in small 1/2 ton bins where destemming and hand-sorting occurred. Fermentation proceeded in a small bin for eight days. The free-run was transferred directly into neutral barrels for settling. After settling, the young wine was racked from the neutral barrels into new American oak barrels (from trees grown in Minnesota) where it aged for an additional year. The wine was polish filtered and bottled in April 2014.
This lively Pinot Noir was fermented in 20% new French Oak for 2 years, which leads to a smooth finish that suggests the sumptuous flavors of Creme Brûlée. Notes of Bing Cherries and red fruits bring out a slight tartness which adds texture and complexity to his medium bodied wine.