Pale ruby-purple in the glass, the 2016 Pinot Noir Terra de Promissio Vineyard opens with fragrant earth and dried herbs over a core of dried cherries, pomegranate, rhubarb and underbrush. Light to medium bodied with great freshness and understated, earthy flavours followed by fine grained tannins and a mineral-laced finish
Pinot Noir—chiefly associated with the Burgundy region of France— is grown around the world, mostly in cooler climates. The grape’s tendency to produce tightly packed clusters makes it susceptible to several viticultural hazards involving rot that require diligent canopy management. When young, wines made from Pinot Noir tend to have red fruit aromas of cherries, raspberries and strawberries. As the wine ages, Pinot has the potential to develop more vegetal and earthy aromas that can contribute to the complexity of the wine. Thin skins and low levels of phenolic compounds lend Pinot to producing mostly lightly coloured, medium-bodied and low-tannin wines that can often go through phases of uneven and unpredictable aging.
Sonoma Coast is one of the largest AVAs in Sonoma, covering the mountains along the Pacific coast from the border with Mendocino County to the top of San Pablo Bay. Despite its name, the Sonoma Coast AVA stretches quite a long way inland. Climatically speaking, the Sonoma Coast is decidedly maritime, and is cooler and wetter than the rest of Sonoma County. This is, perhaps obviously, due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, and the cooling fog that creeps into the coastal valleys via the Petaluma Gap during the summer. As a result of the cool climate, the distribution of grape varieties differs noticeably from that found in the drier, warmer climes inland. The Burgundy family are out in force here – Pinot Noir and Chardonnay together account for more than 75 percent of the AVA’s wines.
The 2016 vintage marked a ‘return to normalcy’ for many in Sonoma County. After the disastrous yields of 2015, most vineyards saw closer to average tonnage and the rains that followed the harvest were more than welcome to alleviate the drought. Favourable weather allowed for even ripening and full phenolic development without being pressured by extreme heat spikes, as with previous vintages. The Terra de Promissio Vineyard has an ideal terroir for Pinot Noir; its soil, exposure, density, elevation and fog from the Petaluma Gap allow the grapes a slow maturation, long hang-time and optimal ripening. This 32 acre site, planted in 2002, is shared by Williams Selyam, Kistler, Kosta Brown and others.
Grapes are hand sampled and harvested at ideal ripeness, cold-soaked for a few days, fermented with yeasts indigenous to the vineyard, and ultimately pressed and barreled into a selection of the winery’s favorite French cooperages.