WINE OF THE MONTH
This year we are going to feature one wine each month to spotlight. This wine will be available for purchase at a 20% discount!
June’s Wine of the Month is our 2019 Pinot Noir, Lago Lomita Vineyard.
2019 PINOT NOIR, LAGO LOMITA VINEYARD
WINEMAKING AND TASTING NOTES
Grapes: Average Brix = 23.5
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir, multiple clones
Crush: Fully de-stemmed
Fermentation: Whole-berry fermented and punched-down by hand
Aging: Sixteen months in French oak, bottled April 4th, 2021
Finished Wine: Lightly filtered for clarity, Alcohol=14.1%
Production: Only 122 cases produced
Tasting Notes: Just over two miles up Loma Prieta Avenue you will find Lago Lomita Vineyard. This Pinot Noir sourced from there delivers a nice contrast to our estate Pinots. Only two miles away, but this is more earthy and with a lighter fruit profile than what we typically see out of our estate fruit. Coax out the aromas of cherry, cola, and chapparal flora with a swirl. Then enjoy this easy drinker that features a nice blend of blueberry and blackberry fruit.
What’s the deal with Pinot Noir Clones?
Clones. No, not Boba Fett or Dolly the Sheep, and don’t worry, we’re not talking about some back room GMO stuff. Clones are simply vines propagated from a specific mother vine. Pint Noir is considered genetically unstable (it mutates easily) and is a very old varietal, so it has had ample time to naturally mutate into new clones. There’s over 1,000 of them!
Today about twenty or so different Pinot Noir clones are used. These are clones that have been found as superior or unique in some way, and typically less prone to viruses and disease. Much of modern planting is done with the so-called Dijon clones. In the 1980’s, researchers, working in Dijon, France were cataloging the best pinot noir clones in Burgundy. They sent some cuttings of these over to Oregon with a return address of Dijon and the name stuck. Of course these make great wine. We have two of these clones planted at Wrights Station, with the uninspiring names of 667 & 777.
But back in the old days, research wasn’t done at the University, it was done in the field and glass.
In the hills above Saratoga around 1896, Paul Masson planted a pinot noir vineyard with cuttings smuggled from France. Legend has it the vines were cut from Louis Latour or maybe even Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. Known as La Cresta, today the site is now the Mountain Winery, better known as a place to watch your favorite ’70’s (Foriegner!) or ’90’s (Barenaked Ladies!) band relive their glory years, but the site is considered by many to be the birthplace of fine winemaking in California.
Later, Masson’s protégé, Martin Ray, took cuttings from La Cresta and planted them on the next ridge over, known as Mount Eden. Martin Ray was a champion for varietal wines; 100% Pinot Noir, not the random field blends that would be labeled “Burgundy” back in the day, with nary an ounce of Pinot Noir in them. He made wines of such renown, that vintners traveled from all over the state to Mount Eden. Some of those vintners took cuttings of their own back to plant in their own vineyards and the Mount Eden Clone was born!
The Lago Lomita vineyard features both Dijon and California Heritage clones. While there is some clonal overlap with our estate vineyard, it’s mostly clones we don’t have (115, 828, Swan and Mount Eden). We particularly enjoy our local Mount Eden clone, with its small clusters and berries, deep intense flavors and signature exotic spice.