2018 Pinot Noir, Black Label
This wine is a rigorous selection of our most dramatic, flavorful and expressive barrels in the cellar. Due to their intensity and extract, these barrels receive the longest barrel aging regime of the Pinot Noirs, and the resulting structure makes this wine the longest lived of the Pinot Noirs as well. It is a special wine.
In 2018, we enjoyed the coolest vintage since 2011. Winter rains and a cool early spring helped delay budbreak, while providing for a good soil water profile. Weather was good during set, allowing for reasonable yields. A warm early summer promoted ripeness, but in late August the weather turned quite cool, with only moderate daytime highs, lots of clouds and cold nights. The grapes, generally, moved very slowly toward full ripeness, which is ideal for us, as we are able to pick deliberately, with each vineyard block harvested at peak quality levels and under perfect conditions (early morning picks with one of us sorting in the field). The cool year meant that the 2018 grapes had excellent flavors at lower sugars and with plenty of energetic acid and good freshness. The solid yields meant that we had plenty of grapes from our favorite sites, making blending more challenging, but also more rewarding in the end.
The 2018 Black Label is comprised of grapes from Radian (62%), Fiddlestix (20%) and Bentrock (18%). The grapes were harvested in small, careful picks with strict field sorting, before being largely destemmed (3% whole clusters), given a 4 to 7 day cold soak and carefully fermented with native yeasts and temperature control. At dryness, the wine was transferred directly to the finest French oak cooperage (66% new, selected coopers) and aged on the lees for 19 months before selection, blending and bottling. The wine is expressive and had amazing textures and flavors with lots of fruit and great structure. It should age splendidly on its intensity and balance. Drink 2022-2032+.
The 2018 wine has not yet been rated, but the 2017 version was highly rated, including 96 points by Jeb Dunnuck, 94 Points by Antonio Galloni and a “best of” wine by Connoisseurs Guide.