2016 Poseidon Vineyard "The Bench"
A true expression of Pinot Noir that is unfettered by excessive use of oak or extraction. Burgundy-hued with aromas of currant, cherry and pomegranate. The wine is elegantly soft on the palate with soft spice notes framing the lush fruit flavors. Though quite youthful at the onset, after time in the glass the wine expands with beautiful texture on the palate. The finish is soft and silky with a touch of Tokaj oak influence, allowing the purity of fruit to shine through.
The maritime environment of the Carneros grape-growing region delivers cool, foggy mornings followed by warm days that slowly nurture ripening. This seaside influence is particularly acute at our Poseidon Vineyard; one can see the masts of boats bobbing in the water just a few steps to the south. The prominent feature of our vineyard is the gravelly, geological “Bench”—the elevated, rocky, former riverbank of the Carneros Creek—that runs serpentine through the center of the site. From this unique geological feature spring some of our most distinct, small-production wines.
The 2016 growing conditions were ideal in many ways. California received much needed rains in the winter with an El Niño season. The parched earth finally received moisture needed to replenish lakes, rivers and ponds which ultimately ripen healthy crops. Better set conditions at flowering resulted in increased yield compared to the 2015 vintage, which was alarmingly low for many vineyards in Northern California. Cooler conditions throughout the summer slowed down the pace of growth, increasing hang-time, allowing the vines to focus on flavor development. The moderate autumn weather allowed for a measured pace in the cellar throughout the long harvest, making for easier logistics and a happy cellar crew.
The three sections of this two-acre hill were picked separately over harvest, as were the different clones. Each pick was fermented separately, and we were super excited to see how the different clones would taste. After several months in barrel, it was evident which of the clones we favored: clones 667 and 777. Clone 667 was highly aromatic and dense on the palate. Clone 777 was bright, lively and elegant. It seemed natural to keep a few barrels of these clonal wines for our special “Bench” blend of Pinot Noir. These wines were racked only once before bottling to maintain the pure fruit expression.
Alex Beloz, Winemaker