The Yorkville Highlands received its designation as an AVA in 1998. Located in southern Mendocino County, California the Yorkville Highlands separate Sonoma County's Alexander Valley AVA from Mendocino County's Anderson Valley AVA. The soil in the Yorkville Highlands is rocky with high gravel content, which provides excellent drainage. During the day, the climate is cooler than Alexander Valley but warmer than Anderson Valley while at night the highlands are cooler than the surrounding areas. The Yorkville Highlands produce world-class Pinot Noir.
Weir Vineyard is in the Yorkville Highlands, about 7 miles south of Boonville. It sits between 900 and 1000 feet, on a south facing slope with well drained, rocky soil. The lower, eastern portion of the vineyard was planted in 1992. The slightly higher, western portion was planted in 2000. During the growing season, there is a 40-50 degree temperature shift between day and night. Both the elevation and the coastal air moving down the Anderson Valley provide cooling for the vineyard. We use Rochioli and 2A clones from the lower, eastern blocks and RC clone from the western blocks. The 2014 season started out warm and dry, with early bud break. April rains and cooler temperatures lead to a smaller fruit set and lower yield than 2013. Our mild summer with late rains meant the grapes could hang on the vines longer, building beautiful ripe fruit flavors and silky tannins, without higher alcohol.
The vineyard was hand-picked well before sunrise the morning of September 8th. A small amount (about 10%) of the fruit was left on the stems, while the remainder was sorted and de-stemmed (but not crushed) into 1 and 1.5 ton fermenters. The wine was allowed to cold soak for 3 days, and then warmed in the sun. Fermentation began from native yeast, and finished within 2 weeks. Wines from the three different clones were kept separate and blended just before bottling. We used one new Boutes barrel, one new Remond Barrell, and one new Gamba barrel. All the others were neutral French oak. The wine was bottled in March of 2016.
In the glass: Elegant ruby color typical of Weir vineyard.
Aroma: It offers notes of cardamom, rich cherry, raspberry, blackberry, black tea and a touch of lavender.
In the mouth: Silky smooth entry with raspberry, cherry, cranberry, cardamom and licorice flavors and an appealing minerality. The rich texture continues through the palate with nice weight.
APPELLATION: Yorkville Highlands, Mendocino County
VINEYARD: Weir Vineyard
pH/TITRATABLE ACIDITY: 3.65 / 7.0 g/l
WINEMAKING: 10% Whole cluster, open top fermenters, cold soak, native yeast start, punch down
BARREL AGING: Aged 16 months in French oak (33% new barrels)
WINEMAKER: Garry Brooks