Aromatics show lavender over crushed warm blackberries. Tar and caramelized black plums. Freshly ground black pepper over a baked cherry clafoutis. Entry is exciting, bright and intense, like eating a blood orange for the first time. Loads of ripe stone fruits from nectarine and peach to black plum. Salivating starts right after the entry. After eighteen hours of air, the initial edge the wine had upon opening is now smoother. Flavors of Graham crackers, Boysenberry, blackberries and fig compote are present. The finish is super long showing both stone and cane fruits, ripe Bing cherries with freshly cracked black peppercorns. Enveloping mouthfeel now but still bright and big. Impressive in its immenseness This is an amazing wine.
Equal parts Swan, Calera, Mount Eden and 943 all de-stemmed into a single two-ton stainless steel fermentation vessel, left to Mother Nature to start and complete both fermentations with the minimum of punch-downs and pump-overs. Took almost four weeks to complete primary fermentation, barely reaching eighty degrees at the peak, retaining effusive aromatics and purity. Settled for a week before going into 75 percent new French oak and left alone for twenty-two months. That is correct: 22 months!
Tony + Diane Rynders purchased a nice “bump” of land which lies North and East from the Hamlet of Carlton, just down the road from Belle Pente Vineyard. The site is hot and as such, Tony planted California Clones of Pinot noir. The theory being these clones are chose for their effectiveness in hot locations and his location is hot. Combine that with what we have experienced here over the past few years and this makes perfect Pinot sense. Big and bright are what Tony is shooting for with this vineyard and it was attained in both 2016 and 2017 vintages. Tony also did plant a little of the controversial 943 Clone to add some bass.
Tony planted mature plants, known as “Uber Plants” which were over three feet tall and close to an inch in diameter when they went into the ground. The Myers Family of Vine Tenders trellised them high to escape some of the reflected heat off the valley floor and left them on their own to penetrate the earth searching for moisture. It worked.
Heritage Clones in the makeup of this wine
Calera, Mount Eden and Swan clones of Pinot noir are what UC David calls “heritage” clones, also referred to as “old -style” by the California growers who introduced them 40+ years ago. Recently Dan Berger, a noted California wine writer, compared the old school closes to the newer Dijon clones sourced from Burgundy, lamenting the loss of a regional “signature” for CA Pinots. He suggests that since the DIjon clones have supplanted the old style clones, the wines have become less “Burgundian” in flavor. The old style clones are known to produce a heavier, earthier, meatier wine than the Dijon clones more common to Oregon.