2011 Poseidon Vineyard "Primo's Hill" Pinot Noir
The wine is redolent with exotic notes of cinnamon spice, white pepper and roasted coffee beans. Ripe plum and red cherries fill out the aroma and contribute the classic Pinot Noir character. In the mouth, the wine is luscious and textured with dark fruits, ending with a smoky, savory edge.
At our Poseidon Vineyard, originally planted in 1973, the maritime influence of the Carneros grape-growing season delivers cool, foggy mornings followed by warm days; ripening is nurtured slowly. At the center of our vineyard rises the seven-acre Primo’s Hill. Carneros soils began as the bed under San Pablo Bay; the silt of marine plants and animals, decomposing over time—and integrating with the finest particles of eroded rock—became clay. This darker and heavier soil comprises most of the vineyard land in Carneros, but as the Bay retreated and the drainage of Napa and Sonoma Valley cut through the clay, deposits of pebbles accumulated on the embankments. It is one such gravelly patch that is exposed on Primo’s Hill, allowing for better drainage and reduced soil compaction and resulting in deeper root penetration. The two-acre flanks of Primo’s Hill consistently produce our finest and most distinct Pinot Noir, which we capture in this reserve boling.
2011 provided a cool, extended growing season that was ideal in Carneros for the Burgundian varieties of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Even so, this Napa-Carneros fruit is typically the first to ripen in the neighborhood and nearly always harvested just after Labor Day. It's not difficult to tell when the fruit is ready for harvest; the clusters are tiny, no longer taut, with slightly wrinkled berries that are full of sweet nectar.
The band of soil that transitions between the upper and lower parts of Primo’s Hill is a gentle, pebble-and-gravel slope. It is here that the fruit for this special wine is farmed. Flavors develop fast on this “skirt,” and the fruit is concentrated with the classic essences of Pinot Noir. Lower yields and the higher skin-to-seed ratio provide the tannin backbone of the wine. The grapes are destemmed then fermented hot in small tanks for a quick extraction. While the juice is still warm and active, it is placed into new Kádár Medium Plus Toast barrels. These barrels are kept in the warmest part of the cellar to continue the fermentation process. This early transition to barrel is what distinguishes the Flavor profile of this wine from its peers. The smoky, charry notes of the fresh oak barrels steep into the young wine and add to the savory, reductive aromas of this Pinot Noir. After 20 months in barrel, the wine is racked of lees and bottled without fining or filtration.