Vivid red. Spice- and mineral-laced raspberry and cherry aromas show impressive clarity and a suave floral overtone. Appealingly sweet and supple in the mouth, offering sappy red and blue fruit, spicecake and lavender pastille flavors enlivened by white pepper and smoky mineral flourishes. Expands and deepens with air while maintaining energy, and finishes gently sweet and very long, featuring interwoven tannins and a lingering raspberry note.
The “O” is elusive, as in it is very difficult to attain. It has to be imminently drinkable upon release but also has the ability to age. This most always results from blending the different vineyards, clones, blocks, fermentation methods, cooperage selection, (Shall I go on?) to reach a level of aromatics, entry, mouthfeel, flavors, weight, complexity and finish to make a completely compelling wine. We were lucky enough to achieve the “O” this vintage.
The Cuvee O is a blend of the vineyards from the vintage which meld well together. This blend took an inordinate amount of time to put together, over 120 hours. It was not only great fun, but educational as well. Some blends would work out fine at the winery, but by the time we took them home and had them with a meal, they were oddly out of balance. Others seemed close, but then when we let them rest in the bottle for a few days, they ended up being too far from an “O” blend. This went on for months as you do get tired of these trials and you get palate fatigue, which only time can heal. This was a tough one but it was WELL worth it. I am not going to name names, but several of my fellow wine making constituents commented that it was even better than any of their 2015 wines, which is most flattering.
The 2015 Cuvee O Pinot noir is made up of 28 percent whole cluster fermentations. (Yes, it was THAT critical!) but from two different fermentation lots: Yates Conwill Vineyard Own-Rooted Pommard and Saffron Fields Vineyard Pommard. During fermentation, the Yates Conwill Whole Cluster was only 5/7 Whole Cluster as that is the way we do it here at EIEIO, and the Saffron Fields Vineyard Pommard was 100 percent Whole Cluster. The separate parts are below:
You read the “Own-Rooted” words above in the make up of this wine and I believe this is the first time I have written about the “Own Rooted” vines at Yates Conwill. It is a risk to plant vines without grafting the phylloxera resistant rootstocks onto the scion wood as the louse will find these plants and eat their roots before they will eat the “resistant” rootstocks. That said, there is a popular current belief that plants simply stuck into the ground (Self-Rooted) will find their “balance” over time and not only self-limit their yield, but also show consistency within inconsistent vintages. I do not know if this is true, but the “Own Rooted” vines at Yates Conwill have been intriguing as they do not burst berries in late fall wet vintages and also seem to bloom earlier in the spring and finish ripening later in the fall. Could be the site, could be anecdotal, could be that I am just happy with these two sections within Yates Conwill, but the proof is in the pudding with this Cuvee O.
The other components bring in the weight to the Cuvee O with the Saffron Fields Vineyard offering suppleness and deep dark flavors while the Wind Hill brings levity due to its higher elevation and deep roots to make this a perfect Pinot noir.