The 2017 growing season welcomed generous rainfall for the first several months of the year. After five drought years, the soils were hydrated, and our irrigation pond was brimming. Bud-break occurred in mid-March followed by a warmer than usual spring, which brought an early fruit-set; fortunately, by then, the rains had subsided. The summer enjoyed mild to average, 80-85° temperatures, allowing the grapes to develop ideal complexity and flavors with optimal development. During the first week of September, all of California experienced a heat spike, with this the first few blocks were harvested. Temperatures then mellowed during the remainder of harvest, allowing each variety to be picked at the ideal time. Pinot Noir was unhurriedly harvested between August 31–September 19, one of the many advantages of growing grapes overlooking the cool Pacific Ocean. Chardonnay was picked September 10–14 and finally the slower ripening Pinotage on October 3rd. Fortunately, all of our fruit was picked prior to the heartbreaking 2017 Sonoma fires. The vintage brought in lower yields, producing wines with great depth and concentration, while the hydrated soils delivered vibrant aromatics and acidity.
The grapes for this Pinot Noir were handpicked during the cool hours of the night in two-gallon trays. After hand sorting, the fruit was cold-soaked for several days and fermented in a combination of 5 and 10-ton tanks. The caps were punched down 1 or 2 times per day, depending on the stage of the fermentation. The wines were then barreled in a combination of 20% new and 80% neutral French oak. Throughout the ten months of barrel aging, the clones and different vineyard lots were kept separate to maintain their distinct flavor profiles and structural components as blending elements.