“For all the toll the desert takes of a man, it gives compensations, deep breaths, deep sleep, and the communion of stars.”
—Mary Austin, The land of little rain
In 2014, I took the leap. With some encouragement, I created my own brand that allowed me to merge my inspirations, and showcase where I feel most at home: in both the desert and the vineyard. I was fortunate to secure one ton of outstanding Pinot Noir grapes from a vineyard in the "deep end" of Anderson Valley. The "deep end" of the valley is only a few miles from the ocean, and is thereby graced with cool, foggy nights, and warm, sunny afternoons. In other words, an ideal location for growing varietally expressive Pinot Noir.
My newest release, the 2015 Mojave Pinot Noir, is a 50/50 blend of Dijon Clones 667 and 115, all coming from the majestic Monument Tree Vineyard. Monument Tree was planted in 1999, has north-eastern sloping exposure, and soils that are a mix of loamy clay and decomposed sandstone. It sits about 10 miles as the crow flies from the Mendocino coast. Altogether these factors yield the style of cool climate Pinot that I adore: earthy, almost herbaceous notes that complement a fruity core of bright, bing cherry and wild blackberry.
In 2015, I cold-soaked these grapes for 3 days, then fermented in a 1 ton bin, using a combination of gentle pump-overs and punch-downs for around 2 weeks. The wine then moved into one once-used Chardonnay barrel (French) and one neutral Pinot Noir barrel (also French, bien sûr), before being bottled after 15 months of aging.