This Pinot noir shows all of the earth, salinity, and concentration that would be expected of small vines, stunted by the wind, that produce less than one ton per acre.
As long time lovers of Pinot Noir we occasionally feel the call to produce one of our own. The sandy windswept hills of Southwestern Sonoma County, between Petaluma and the Pacific ocean, hold a frightening fascination, it is truly the limit of where Vitis vinifera will ripen fruit. The land is far more suited to the excellent dairy cattle that brave the daily fog and wind. Driving through these hills for years, en route to the coast to cool down, fish on the surf, and eat oysters, we have always wondered how the wine would be. In 2015 we purchased a small amount of fruit to find out.
The Spring Hill Vineyard is farmed by Karen London. The vineyard is perched on the top of a sandy ridge, directly in the path of the relentless wind off the sea, yielding, as a result, less than one ton per acre of teeny tiny berries. The sea salt can be tasted in the beef grown on the property, and in the wine.
The wine was a co-fermented blend of the Pommard, Swan, and Wendel clones. We vinified it with 50% whole clusters in a small open top tank, with two manual punch downs per day until the fermentation dropped to 6 brix, at which point we had deep color and extraction and decided to stop punching down at all.
We pressed as soon as the fermentation was dry (around 14 days) and aged the wine in one new and five neutral Burgundy barrels for 10 months.