2014 Marin County Pinot Noir

THE VINEYARDS AND VINTAGE

The 2013 Marin County Pinot is a blend from two vineyards.  Both are on the Marin side of the Petaluma Gap.   Azaya Ranch is closest to the coast, just north of Stafford Lake on Hicks Valley Rd.  It sits on a south facing, well drained slope.    Cool wind from the coast ensures thick skins, great color, and beautiful texture in our clones 2a, 115, and 667. It is certified Organic.  Chileno Valley Vineyard sits on a bench facing north east into Sonoma.  Because it is dry farmed, the vines struggle to produce small, intensely flavored berries.  Clone 828 contributes a burst of raspberry and cherry while the Pommard clone offers more structure and flavors of dark cherry.  The site, with its cold nights and warm days, provides great acidity and a subtle earthiness typical of Marin.  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.

WINEMAKING

Azaya Ranch was hand-picked before sunrise the morning of September 16th.  The Pommard from Chileno valley vineyard was picked on September 12th while the 828 was picked on September 23rd. 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.    A small amount of juice was removed 24 hours after destemming. The wine was allowed to cold soak for 3 days, and then warmed in the sun.  Fermentation began from native yeast.  Wines from the 2 vineyards were kept separate and blended just before bottling.  We used two new Remond, one New Boutes and one new Gamba barrel, along with 4 once filled barrels.  The remainder was neutral French oak.  The wine was bottled in March, 2016.

THE WINE

In the glass: Deep burgundy color.
Aroma: Abundant dark cherry, with notes of black pepper, sassafras and a hint of oak. As it opens up, there’s a touch of clove and cinnamon.
In the mouth: Lovely round mouth feel, with structured tannins and flavors of cranberries, tart cherries, blackberries, and a hint of wild sage.
Finish: Nice long finish of cranberries, tart cherries and wet stone. The cherry lingers once the wine is gone.

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