90 Points: "This is a gorgeous wine." - Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate
Platinum - Critics Challenge International Wine Competition
Chamisal was the first vineyard planted in the Edna Valley in 1973 and now comprises 80 acres planted to 5 varieties and 25 clonal selections. Proximity to the Pacific Ocean creates a long temperate growing season with extended hang time, which combines with the calcareous, clay-rich soil to produce fruit with exceptional intensity and complex flavors.
2010 will go down as one of the coolest years in Californian history. A very chilly spring with significant frost events delayed budbreak 10-14 days behind normal. Due to cooler ocean temperatures, the summer was much cooler than average with the June coastal fog persisting into July and August. An extended heat wave in the last week of September gave us record-breaking heat, with temperatures exceeding 110 °F for four days, allowing ripening to catch up a bit. While this necessitated the picking of some of our early clones of Pinot Noir, the majority weathered the heat very well and could be picked at the peak of flavor ripeness in early October.
The Pinot Noir was hand harvested at night in 25 separate picks and predominantly destemmed after meticulous hand sorting, with a small percentage left whole cluster. Each pick was treated to a cold soak of three to seven days, increasing color and density before it was fermented separately in small open-top fermentors. Both native and cultured yeasts were used combined with low fermentation temperatures to give soft phenolics and fresh aromatics. The wines aged in 41% new French oak for seven months before blending, then spent an additional seven months in the barrel.
The combination of all ten clones in this wine expresses the unique terrior
of our vineyard rather than displaying the characteristics of an individual clone.
The wine boasts an expressive nose dominated by cranberry, raspberries and red plum, with ample underlying varietal notes of ripe stems, warm spice and earth. Bright red fruit flavors define the palate with fresh acidity, a seamless structure and a lifted strawberry character from the whole cluster fermentation.
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