2015 McDougall Vineyard Pinot Noir

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Tasting Notes

The Wine

The wet spring weather hit our McDougall Vineyard especially hard, reducing our crop to less than half of a typical year. Coming in at just over a 1 ton per acre yield, the fruit resulted in a final production of just 140 cases. The vineyard focusing all that energy into this tiny crop gave our already big and bold McDougall Pinot an extra boost of rich decadence. The intensity of the wine is apparent immediately by its dark ruby color in the glass. Loads of black cherry, raspberry, and plum fruit jumps out of the glass, framed with spicy sandalwood and red licorice notes. The mouth is full, rich and juicy, coating your palate with a cascade of berries riding on a firm backbone. Black tea and slate characters back up the fruit, giving additional structure to the lengthy finish. As with all our Sonoma Coast wines, you’ll want equally voluptuous and outgoing foods to partner with it, like venison with mushroom stroganoff, a grilled herb-rubbed steak, or slow cooked pot roast. Be sure to keep some of this excellent aging wine for your cellar, as it will continue to evolve for at least 10 years.

Winemaker's Notes

The Vineyard

When Mac McDougall purchased his stunning ranch spanning the Gualala River in the early 1960s he had no idea he’d ever be planting grapes on it, but in 1998 old friend Warren Dutton convinced him to do just that. On 9 wind-protected southeast facing acres he planted 2 Dijon clones of pinot. With Mac’s sad passing, his wife Barbara and son Rich now work and stress over it. The site wraps over the ridge at about 1,100 feet and has a spectacular view of the Gualala River, the Pacific Ocean, and Mac’s neighbors at Hirsch and Martinelli vineyards. The fruit has the exceptionally thick skin, deep color and natural spice that is so characteristic of Pinot from the high slopes of the “true” Sonoma Coast. Even in this coastal region, McDougall ripens fairly early, due to its thin, well-drained soil, sheltered south slope and low yields. This same environment also imparts the minerality and solid structure for aging that this area is known for. This vineyard wonderfully represents the wild beauty and intensity of the Sonoma Coast, both in its land and its fruit.

 

Winemaking

After hand sorting and destemming into small open top fermenters, the must is cold-soaked for 7 days in order to gently extract color, spice and fruit characters, while mitigating harsher tannins. To further this aim, no SO2 was used at the crusher. We punch down 1 to 3 times daily, according to the stage of the fermentation (less often at later stages to avoid harsh tannin pickup), but treat it very gently given the inherently solid structure of the Sonoma Coast fruit. After fermentation, the wine is racked into French oak to age, then racked and blended once in the spring of 2016 to choose our favorite barrels, homogenize the blend, and hone our barrel choices for final aging until bottling in February of 2017. For this wine, we’ve chosen Taransaud as the signature barrel, for the way it rounds out the edges of this big bold wine.

2015 McDougall Vineyard Pinot Noir

Technical Data

Alcohol: 14.1 %
TA: 7.1 g/L
pH: 3.39
Winemaking: Open top fermentation, cold soak, punch down
Barrel Aging: Aged 15 months in French oak (50% new)
Cases Produced: 140

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