Our Winery Exclusive wines allow us to create small lot offerings each vintage from unique vineyards where we can highlight both the varietal and the terroir of the region. These limited release wines are available only to guests of the winery and our wine club members, and often result in just a few barrels each vintage.
A delicate light color hints at the elegant nature of this Pinot Noir, which has aromas and flavors of darker red fruits like black cherries and raspberry, with hints of toasted caramel and vanilla alongside oak spice. Bright acidity and mineral notes that are a hallmark of the Carneros are recognizable in this well-balanced wine with notable structure and a lingering finish.
Early season rains brought yields back to normal levels this year, mitigating the extended drought that afflicted most of California. A cool spring resulted in normal timing for bud break, in late March. Temperatures remained fairly cool in May and June, but high temperatures in July triggered an early start to harvest. Quality was solid for the vintage overall.
Known for producing exceptional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the Los Carneros American Viticultural Area straddles Napa and Sonoma Valleys and is the coolest region in these valleys. It forms a long strip at the northern edge of the San Pablo Bay, where persistent winds and fog blow in off the water, maintaining low overall temperatures. This allows grapes to ripen slowly, developing complexity and retaining a vibrant acidity. The region’s complex geographic history is reflected in the shallow, low-nutrient Haire and Diablo soils, which contain both diatoms from an ancient seabed and volcanic rock from the Mayacamas Mountains. These thin, shallow soils are clay and loam with poor drainage and low fertility. In this environment, the vines struggle, thus developing low yields of intensely flavored fruit with good acidity and complexity. This wine’s distinctive minerality comes from Dijon clones 96 and 75 planted in the unusual soils.
Director of Winemaking Harry Hansen was raised in nearby Sonoma County. “One of my earliest memories of wine was the gallon jug of red wine that we always had at home. I would go with my father to a local winery, maybe in Kenwood or Healdsburg, to refill that jug and chit-chat with the winery proprietors. The aromas of those wines were always something attractive, somehow mysterious, but always memorable.”
Harry joined Sterling Vineyards and relocated to Napa Valley just before the 2011 Harvest. “The opportunity to join such a respected Napa Valley winery is exciting and a fantastic next step in my winemaking career. Sterling Vineyards is making some wonderful wines, and I look forward to taking that next step up in quality and reputation.”
|Blend||100% Pinot Noir|