Video - Blending Our 2009 Pinot Noirs

Check out a brief video of this year’s pinot noir blending session below.  If you can't see the video, please click here.


By now you all know that blending is the art of winemaking.  As you blend, taste, and spit, you strive to craft a composite wine that outshines each component individually.  What one wine lacks in aromatics is complimented by another that smells divine but lacks tannin.  And so it goes.  Last week, for the first time, Brian and I faced the quality vs. consistency dilemma.  Last year being our inaugural year, we had no benchmarks to match (other than the bottles of cult pinot noir we hoped to emulate).  Our 2008 Santa Lucia Highlands bottling offered ripe berry aromatics, sweet floral notes, and a killer structure with ample tannins and body.  This year’s batch from Doctor’s Vineyard had to measure up.  As we tasted through different blends, some were decidedly lovely but lacked the grip of last year’s juice.  We changed directions and re-blended to achieve greater year-to-year consistency.  We added more of the 667 clone to flesh out the body and amp up the tannins, plus a tad of the heritage Swan clone for those sweet aromatics. 

In the end, I think you will be thrilled with the results.  The Santa Lucia Highlands has the same ripe blackberry/raspberry profile with that wonderful underpinning of savory smoke and spice.  And it’s got muscle to boot.  Our Sonoma Coast offering has a great nose of fruit and earth and some pretty strong tannins.  Our Anderson Valley pinot has a trademark cranberry nose and a velvety smooth finish.

For now, the wine will meld in the barrel for another two months before bottling.