2015 Devil's Gulch Pinot Noir


Tasting Notes

The wet spring weather hit our cool Marin vineyard especially hard, reducing what is already one of our smaller crops to less than ¾ tons per acre. The vineyard was one of our last to be harvested, coming in on September 12 and 14, its tiny clusters and mini berries foretelling the wine ahead. Our Devil’s Gulch Pinot is always an intense wine, but the 2015 vintage amps that up even more, making its packed density apparent from the first whiff. Black raspberries dance on a layer of redwood brush, with touches of dried cranberries and tobacco in the backdrop. The first sip is decadently juicy and rich, filling your mouth with a mélange of wild raspberries, blackberries and red currants. The texture is pure velvet, luxurious and enveloping, yet with a liveliness and litheness that provides that dual nature we love in the best pinots. You may find the bottle gone before dinner, but if you do have some left, enjoy it with veal in a mushroom cream sauce, braised rabbit, or some of Marin’s Mt. Tam cheese. 

Winemaker's Notes

The Vineyard

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 fruit was hand sorted and destemmed into small open top fermenters, then cold-soaked for 5 days in order to gently extract spice and fruit characters, while mitigating harsher tannins. We are particularly gentle on the Devil’s Gulch in order to produce silky wine from the inherently high tannin tiny berries. The incoming fruit was split into two lots—one from the terraces, one from the upper slope—to vary fermentation techniques according to the nature of each particular area. The final blend was assembled from our favorite barrels in each lot in Spring 2016. For this wine, the Seguin Moreau Icone barrels bring out its natural earthiness, and Taransaud fills in an underlying richness. We choose Icone as well for the one year-old barrels to play up the mushroom quality of the wine even more. The wine aged for another year before being bottled in February 2017.

Awards & Accolades

97 - Wine Enthusiast

91Connoisseurs' Guide

2015 Devil's Gulch Pinot Noir

Technical Data

Alcohol: 13.8 %
TA: 6.6 g/L
pH: 3.49
Winemaking: Open top fermentation, cold soak, punch down
Barrel Aging: Aged 16 months in French oak (50% new)
Cases Produced: 262

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