2016 Devil's Gulch Pinot Noir
Devil's Gulch Vineyard
Aged 16 months in French oak (50% New barrels)
Open top fermentation, cold soak, punch down
Cool coastal sites like Devil’s Gulch love long seasons like 2016. The extra hang time gives us fruit that makes a particularly luscious wine. The nose is instantly alluring, tempting you in with rich, brooding aromas of wild berry, loamy forest floor, and violets, with a bright pop of candied raspberry underneath. We love wines that lead this way, urging you to dive in for the first sip. Waves of blueberry compote, crème de cassis, and baking spices fill your mouth, riding on broad, firm and smooth tannins. The finish is juicy and creamy, lingering its wild black raspberry pie notes to a contented end.
Pinot Noir fans appreciate exotic vineyard sites and eccentric vineyard owners. Mark Pasternak and his Devil’s Gulch vineyard fit the bill on both counts. Located on a steep, convoluted hillside adjacent to the Point Reyes Peninsula in Western Marin County, Devil’s Gulch is a pioneering planting. Mark lives on the property with his family and is truly passionate (some would say obsessive) about increasing the fame of Marin County as a viticultural area. He is dedicated to sustainable agricultural practices and minimal chemical use. The ranch combines steep terraces (up to 60% grade), shallow soil, the harsh climate of the Marin coast, protected exposures, and well-chosen Dijon clonal selections to produce a small crop of unique fruit. The blustery spring weather of Marin gives us poor set and an extremely small crop of tiny berries, while the reliable late fall weather promotes great phenolic maturity and wild fruit intensity in the wine. For us, wine is all about personality, and Devil’s Gulch is one of our favorite examples of that
The fruit was hand sorted and destemmed into small open top fermenters, then coldsoaked for 5 days in order to gently extract spice and fruit characters, while mitigating harsher tannins. We are particularly gentle on the Devil’s Gulch in order to produce silky wine from the inherently high tannin tiny berries. The incoming fruit was split into two lots—one from the terraces, one from the upper slope—to vary fermentation techniques according to the nature of each particular area. The final blend was assembled from our favorite barrels in each lot in Spring 2017. For this wine, the Seguin Moreau Icone barrels bring out its natural earthiness, and Taransaud fills in an underlying richness. We choose Icone as well for the one year-old barrels to play up the mushroom quality of the wine even more. The wine aged for another year before being bottled in March 2018.
Food Pairing Notes
Naturally, any of Mark’s ranch’s animal offerings would be a great match, but we’re especially partial to braised rabbit in a mushroom sauce and herb grilled quail. Local Marin County cheeses like Nicasio Valley’s Nicasio Reserve or Marin French Cheese’s Petite Crème would also be wonderful mates.