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.
Not a shy Pinot Noir in this vintage, there are aromas and flavors of black cherry, cranberry and ripe plums with lovely caramel and vanilla and evident oak spice. Bright acidity and mineral notes that are a hallmark of Los Carneros are recognizable in this well-balanced wine with notable structure and a lingering finish. Overall, the 2018 vintage wines are quite juicy and expressive, a characteristic from the cooler August and September growing conditions.
A near perfect season, welcomed after several tense vintages, began with abundant February rains followed by drying sun and weather that allowed for even flowering and bud break. The slightly later start was followed by consistently ideal weather. It turned a bit cool in August, mild in September, allowing fruit to evolve. Patience and careful attention to the vineyard was rewarded with fruit of excellent ripeness, well balanced tannins and complexity. Generally, normal to heavier fruit clusters were evident on the vine with great flavor intensity. On average, pick dates were two weeks later than normal.
The Pinot Noir grapes were harvested at optimum ripeness in the cool morning hours. At the winery, the fruit sorted with an optical sorter to select only the finest berries, and was cold soaked for five days followed by fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel open top fermenters to preserve the delicate nature of the fruit and to retain freshness. 100% French oak barrels (48% new) were used for aging the wine nine months imparting added complexity and structure to the final wine.
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.”