The mythical 892… as we like to play practical jokes around here.
As you might know, there is not an 892 clone of Pinot noir… yet! The 892 designation came about during the harvest of 2011 due to an infestation of other winery friends in the area. It is not that we mind, but for some reason, perhaps the late, coolness of the vintage, people would drop by every hour wanting to sniff, sip and see what we were doing or had done to circumvent the cool harvest weather. In truth, we were doing nothing differently. We had been paying attention to the weather and the vineyards and had circumvented any issues by crop thinning and leaf pulling early on. Paying attention is paramount and any business.
The goal was to decrease the number of “drop bys” as we had plenty to do without going through the winery and tasting folks on what we were processing that day. As a joke, we labeled one fermentation vessel “892” as it was a co-fermentation of a block of 777 and a block of 115 from the Saffron Fields Vineyard. Do the math. We figured this would let everyone know that we really have nothing to hide, were doing nothing new and wanted all involved to laugh at the foolishness of it all. This idea backfired on us.
As would be expected, someone asked what “892” was. Drinking a beer at the time, perhaps several, we let them know it was a new clone and we were surprised that they were not aware, as most of our mutual friends had some in their cellars. When we tasted the juice, comments were extremely positive with all of the superlatives we have all come to love. When we were asked what we thought of the “892”, our response was; “It has the structure of the 115 clone with the abundant fruit of the 777 clone, sort of a best of both worlds kind of Pinot.” No one got it.
Unfortunately, they went out and spread the news to all of the other wineries about our “new” clone. This in turn caused even more people to come buy with a six-pack of beer or a paper bag full of tamales to “trade” for information ranging from:
“Who has this planted?”
“Which nursery has the material?”
“Can I secure some for next year?”
or better yet:
“I will trade for a few bottles when it is released!”
Now we were being inundated with visitors and the beer fridge was bulging with beer and too many breakfast burritos for us to consume. We could have started our own restaurant. It was insane.
Almost a full month later, someone figured it out and laughed. They told the others and then everyone started coming back for their beer and burritos, now long gone. Good times!
I decided to keep the proprietary name as it is filled with good memories and the wine is pretty damned good too! Plus, I must agree: it DOES have the strength of the 115 clone and the fruit of the 777. It also has some of the best texture of my offerings from this vintage: smooth and almost unctuous but with a cleansing finish. Flavors are all leaning toward the black end of the fruit spectrum. You start with the aromas of blackberries on a dirt path in the middle of the summer then and move to black cherries. With a bit of air more earthy aromas of morel mushrooms and torn basil are present. Entry is sexy and smooth, almost too smooth. The mid palate has weight and more flavors appear with black plum being the most dominate. The cleansing finish shows orange pith and pomegranate. This is an interesting wine. Great fun from the story to the wine itself. Order up.