2016 Yates Conwill Vineyard
Pinot noirs & Chardonnay

Yates Conwill Pinot noir Field Blend

Purely Domestic Wine Report 95 points

The nose is cranberry, spicy tobacco, cherry and woodruff. The palate entry is all about pristine purity and texture. Excellent mouthfeel with blue plum, and blackberry in the core finishing with a long, integrated silky black plum. Drink 2018 – 2028.

Blend of every Pinot noir block
100% Pinot noir
Native primary and secondary fermentation
21 months in barrel
25 percent New French Oak
97 cases produced

Darker than the “Own Roots” this shows deep ruby with purple edges. Aromatically there are blackberries and black plums followed by lilac. Entry is smooth with a jump in flavor right away to black overripe plums, juniper berries. Juiciness right after the first sip. Makes you salivate. Flavors are intense with umeboshi, black licorice, and plum. Finish is long yet wavy at this point.

Yates Conwill Pinot noir Own Roots

Purely Domestic Wine Report 98 points 

From an own rooted block, the nose is a juicy cherry, lilac and plum with excellent focus and notes of herb. The palate is pure blackberry and currant with exceptional concentration and balance. Drink 2018 – 2028.

Two block blend of Wadenswil and Pommard grown on their own roots.
100% Pinot noir
70 percent whole cluster
Native primary and secondary fermentation
21 months in barrel
33 percent New French Oak
72 cases produced

Grape plants are vines and vines are tenacious. Most all vinifera is now grafted onto “rootstock” chosen for its ability to resist phylloxera as well as specific water intake characteristics. This makes for an economically safer vineyard. The plants within this Own Roots bottling are cuttings taken from the neighboring vineyard currently known as Resonance Vineyard. You cut off the fruiting cane in the winter and stick it in the ground in the early spring. Most all cuttings will take hold and these obviously did.

Anecdotally, I find that vines growing on their own roots not only ripen later but also do not seem to take on more water when it is not needed. I have yet to see these berries split during large downpours such as we had in 2013. Perhaps that is why my wines from Yates Conwill Vineyard did so well with the critics that year.

Tasting Notes
Light and translucent in color. Aromatics offer forest floor, raspberry, freshly mown hay, and sun-warmed red plums. The entry is almost too smooth and is followed closely by flavors of cinnamon toast with blackberry jam, what an odd, yet intriguing combination. The classic Yates Conwill signature of Umeboshi is obviously present, just like the “Field Blend” but this, “Own Roots” leans toward the Chinese version known as Sweet Li Hing Mui “dried salted plum” version over the Japanese pickled version. More finesse-full, if that is a word than previous Yates Conwill Vineyard Pinots, an embrace compared to a bear hug. After one hour much more mellow. Subtlely complex would describe this lovely wine.

Others’ Impressions:
Color: Limpid ruby red with clear edges
Aroma: Dried cherries, rhubarb pie, freshly poured concrete
Entry: mouth enveloping then, slightly subtle tingling of crisp, acidic, wild plums.
Flavors: Once warmed, marshmallows, red plum jam on a crusty English Muffin with burnt ridges.
Mouthfeel: Lush then juicy acidity
Finish: Great length with an obvious plum tartartin, if anyone actually ever made one with plums.

Yates Conwill Chardonnay

Purely Domestic Wine Report 98 points

The nose is a pure pineapple and fresh lemon with notes of apple and grains. The palate entry is crisp and nuanced white berry, currant, pineapple, mineral and peach. Drink 2018 – 2028.

Blend of every Chardonnay block within the Yates Conwill Vineyard: Clones 76 and 95
100% Chardonnay
Pre-oxidized as juice, then to barrel. No stirring.
Native primary and secondary fermentation
21 months in barrel
50 percent New French Oak
92 cases produced

Subtle, almost ethereal entry, so subtle that it is almost not even there. This is followed by nashi with great juiciness, fresh apricots, Mirabelle plums then lemon zest. Excellent middle with dusty chalk and an effusiveness showing fresh sugar cane, dried kumquat, and Kumamoto oyster brine. Acidity is sneaky. Oak is underneath. Beautifully integrated.

Yates Conwill Vineyard

The Yates Conwill Vineyard in 2016

I have been leasing Yates Conwill Vineyard since the mid-2000s with great results in both the Chardonnay and Pinot noir. The vineyard has been described as a bonsai garden it is so well tended.

The vineyard adjacent to Yates Conwill was recently purchased by Maison Louis Jadot. It is known as the Resonance Vineyard. The House of Jadot can afford to buy land anywhere. Obviously, this site is something special to Jacques Lardiere and crew. Being adjacent, the soil, exposure and the even some of the actual plants are the same. Perhaps this is why the people at Resonance like my Yates Conwill Vineyard wines.

This is the first vintage where I have separated the Yates Conwill Pinots into two lots. One lot is the familiar label you see in the middle. This is the “Field Blend” which encompasses grapes from all the blocks within the vineyard. The colorful new label “Own Roots” is composed of the two blocks colored in green on the new label. These two blocks are unique in that the plants are growing on their own roots taken from cuttings from the Resonance Vineyard.

All of these wines were recently bottled on August 20th so your patience will be rewarded.
2016: Great Vintage
The 2016 growing season was quite warm and harvest early. A warm spring moved into a moderate summer resulting in an even growing season through véraison. Fermentations showed concentration and complexity with natural acidity. A classic warm vintage with no adjustments needed.

The Wines