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Early rains and a long, moderate, dry growing season with very few heat spikes allowed for optimal ripening conditions for our Carneros Pinot Noir in 2019. The grape sugars came up slowly, flavors developed beautifully, and the characteristic bright acidity of Pinot Noir was preserved. Some may call it an “uneventful” harvest, which almost always makes for the best wine quality!
This wine is a blend of several organically certified Carneros vineyards including a new block planted to clone 667 (an old favorite) from ZD’s own certified organic Carneros Estate Vineyard. The fruit was all hand harvested at optimal maturities in the cool Carneros mornings. Most of the vineyard lots were gently destemmed with 30% whole berries intact and fermented in our small, open-top tanks. In 2019, we fermented a small lot with 30% whole clusters—a technique used in the past with the early Rosa Lee Pinot Noir wines in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s—allowing for a distinctive forward briary fruitiness. Hand punch downs of the cap every 6 hours during fermentation ensured a gentle extraction of color and tannins, and 10 months of aging in 100% French Oak barrels created a wine with depth, balance, and elegance.
Medium ruby in color with aromas of ripe cherries, plum, baking spices, and a hint of rhubarb, this wine is classic Carneros Pinot Noir. Hints of cedar, vanilla, and toasted nuts lead to a full, rich palate of ripe flavors and silky tannins. This wine is drinking wonderfully right now and will continue to develop complexity with bottle age.