2014 Devil's Gulch Vineyard Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir fans appreciate exotic vineyard sites and eccentric vineyard owners. Mark Pasternak and his Devil’s Gulch vineyard fit the bill on both counts. Located on a steep, convoluted hillside adjacent to the Point Reyes Peninsula in Western Marin County, Devil’s Gulch is a pioneering planting. Mark lives on the property with his family and is truly passionate (some would say obsessive) about increasing the fame of Marin County as a viticultural area. He is dedicated to sustainable agricultural practices and minimal chemical use. The ranch combines steep terraces (up to 60% grade), shallow soil, the harsh climate of the Marin coast, protected exposures, and well-chosen Dijon clonal selections to produce a small crop of unique fruit. The blustery spring weather of Marin gives us poor set and an extremely small crop of tiny berries, while the reliable late fall weather promotes great phenolic maturity and wild fruit intensity in the wine. For us, wine is all about personality, and Devil’s Gulch is one of our favorite examples of that.
The rare impeccable coastal Marin weather from budbreak through harvest in 2014 gave Devil’s Gulch the perfect conditions to produce a veritable bumper crop of 2.07 tons per acre. When we finally brought in the fruit in two picks on September 22 and 24--at the very end of our pinot harvested, and all but one chardonnay as well--it was apparent that this would be a great Devil’s year, giving us the density the wine is known for, while adding extra juiciness. We love pinots that have that wonderful quality of being full and rich without being heavy, as this one does. The nose leads with wild berry, lively Bing cherry, and candied cranberry, with its trademark woodsy spice underpinning. There’s a sense of creaminess to the wine even in the aroma, which is played out in the mouth. The high-toned berry patch flavors are tipped with cinnamon, nutmeg and redwood brush, and carried on gorgeously fine tannins, managing to make the wine both delicate and complex at the same time. You can never go wrong serving it with any of Mark’s meats from the ranch, or your own local quail, rabbit or lamb on the barbeque. Production: 560 cases.
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