2015 Mt. Carmel Pinot Noir
Mt. Carmel Vineyard sits adjacent to Sea-smoke and just below Rita’s Crown vineyards on the south facing side of Santa Rosa Road - the epicenter of Sta Rita Hills Pinot Noir.
As a result of the vine age, steep slope, and extraordinary amount of ocean wind, the yields are typically reduced to less than 1.5 tons per acre, making super-intense fruit.
After three medium to large yielding vintages, the 2015 vintage was markedly down in quantity. Yields were down not only from the high yields of the previous vintages, but down also from “normal.” This lead us to scramble to find a couple new sources of fruit outside of our usual ranches whose yields were too low for us to source. Our friends were able to find us a small amount of fruit to produce this bottling from Mt. Carmel, and as such it’s a one-off, of two barrels of wine.
The grapes in 2015 ripened even earlier than in the previous three vintages. A small crop and an early ripening vintage lead to fruit that was a touch more angular than usual - especially in the early-ripening Pinot. To help in the winery, we aged our Pinot Noirs for six months longer than usual to help soften and integrate the tannin.
The hand-picked grapes were picked at night and fermented with about 25% whole clusters to add tannin structure and aromatic complexity. The wine was aged for 18 months in 2 year old and older French oak barrels and never racked before bottling.
Inky red and purplish fruit, savory herbs and the inherent structure of this rugged, mountain site all come through in spades. The wine is deep and explosive, yet it maintains great energy and overall tension. The 2015 was done with 25% whole clusters and spent 18 months in barrel.