2021 La Belle Promenade Vineyard Pinot Noir 3 Litre
Site History: We have the good fortune to be in a position where we can carefully pick and choose what vineyards with which we want to work. Mostly we are in a situation where our fruit needs are pretty small or not at all. However, in 2019 we had grafted over three acres in our Estate Vineyard and knew we would be missing as much as 10 tons worth of Pinot Noir from those blocks. It was also becoming clear early on that the booming harvests of the past couple of years were not happening quite as much in 2019. While barrel tasting some 2018 wines at Flaneur Winery we were offered fruit from what we all thought was the best of the vineyards they have showed us, La Belle Promenade. When we went up to see the vineyard on a cool and foggy morning it was evident immediately that this was just not some “vineyard asset” of a winery but a place that was loved. The farming was clearly immaculate but it was the sense of life there that really spoke to us. Case in point, as we walked from the first block we were offered a Peregrine Falcon swooped in low over the vineyard and nabbed what was clearly a snake from directly off the ground! As it flew off with its prey, yet another Falcon swooped in on it attempting to purloin the snake from the original captor. A Falcon battle over the snake proceeded to take place with the hunter eventually winging off with its prize. Hard to resist getting fruit from a vineyard when that is the introduction! This is the highest elevation site that we have with the top of the vineyard (our block, appropriately named the Ghost Barn Block) at just over 800’ in elevation. For a virtual tour that is well worth the effort please go to https://www.flaneurwines.com/la-belle-promenade-vineyard/ and check out just how amazing this site is.
Site Characteristics: The most interesting thing about working with this vineyard has been discovering that it is not what we thought it was going to be. Based on the elevation it seemed that we would be getting lightly colored Pinots that hopefully had the combination of aromatics, elegance and lifted acidity to be a dreamy, fine wine. However, what we now know is that the shape and topography of the site outweigh the elevation factor. The vineyard is basically a huge sun sail. In any year nowadays a site that stretches out over a large tract of land because it is not on a hillside is going to harvest an enormous amount of light and therefore generate a huge amount of photosynthesis energy in the plants. In 2021 that characteristic would be on steroids. The wine from here has largesse, is dark fruited but it handles all quite nicely and easily so while it would be considered a “bigger” Pinot Noir it is still well-balanced within the context of its important elements (fruit intensity, acidity, tannin structure and alcohol) so it doesn’t feel big or overt.
The Blocks: As noted above that while the vineyard is at higher than normal elevations by the area’s standards, the site is not particularly steep, but more of a plateau with rolls and pitches and dips. However, one block in particular, The Ghost Barn Block, at the highest point in the vineyard cascades down a steep western slope. This is one of our two blocks. It is planted to Pommard. The other, the Orchestra Block, is a rolling hillside block with a slight dip to the north that is planted to a massale selection of seven interplanted clones of Pinot Noir.
Farming Practices: 100% Organically farmed. All Patricia Green Cellars’s sites are dry farmed.
Picking Dates, Tonnages, Tons/Acre: September 23; Ghost Barn Block 1.86 tons (1.32 tons/acre), Orchestra Block 3.33 tons (1.85 tons/acre).
Vinification: All three fermenters were 100% destemmed and were pigeaged once/day.
Winemaking: Fermentations were managed by a combination of pumpovers early in the process and exclusively prior to fermentation beginning as well as pigeages to ensure gentle handling, extraction and delicate tannin construction. Cold soaks 4 days in length. Full fermentation from beginning to pressing was 17. 72 hour settling prior to being racked to barrel. All wines on full lees until assemblage for bottling. Bottled without fining or filtration.
Barrels: This 12-barrel bottling consists entirely of neutral barrels with the exception of 3 new barrels (25%) with 2 being used on the Ghost Barn (4 barrels) and 1 on the Orchestra Block (8 barrels). Wine was in barrel until late June and bottled in late July. Bottling consists of:
Notes: As noted in the Site Characteristics section, this wine has a largesse to it that is entirely delicious and very appealing. While these vines are just 10 years old and planted in volcanic soil there is a structural tone to the fruit that is not often found in your typical volcanic soil vineyards of similar age. Rather than displaying loads of sweetness leading right to the finish this wine has mid-palate length and concentration from beginning to end. This will be on the darker side of the fruit spectrum, especially for a volcanic soil wine. This drinks well but should easily pass the 8-10 year barrier before really even showing much change in its super-primary nature. TA 5.5, pH 3.59. Bottled with about 30 ppm free SO2 and less than 80 ppm total SO2.