2016 Fox Den Vineyard Pinot Noir
GREEN VALLEY OF RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY
Green Valley of Russian River Valley
Fox Den Vineyard
September 14, 2016
Aged 17 months in French oak (55% new barrels)
As with our other wines, the early start to the 2016 season gave our Fox Den Pinot Noir that perfect combination of brightness and richness. The wine is especially vibrant in both the nose and mouth this vintage, leading with vivid aromas of a mélange of red fruits—cherry, strawberry, and raspberry—with a pretty touch of rose petals and a savory note of rhubarb pie. Baking spice tones continue in the mouth, providing a backdrop to support a leading cast of luscious Bing cherry and Chambord. The texture is caressing and smooth, its fine tannins carrying the creamy strawberry shortcake finish to a delicious end.
Fox Den Vineyard is perched on top of Stoetz Ridge, at the western border of Green Valley and just above the town of Occidental. The Goldridge sandy loam soil here is extremely sandy since this ridge is old pushed-up sea bottom, which makes for low vigor vines, slow ripening, and beautifully floral and fruit driven wine. Here on the hill, it’s frequently a touch warmer than the bottom of the valley, but it’s still always among the last harvested and highest in natural acidity of our pinots. Dan and Steve planted the spot together in 2002, and Dan has been crafting the wine since 2004. The eight acres is split into three clones: 667 for vivid fruit, 777 for chewy tannins and 115 for brightness and floral aromatics. For the vineyard designated wine, the exact blend between them will vary each year, but the result is always a wine with sweet, lush cherry/strawberry fruit and great natural acidity. This beautiful site is the home of Ed and Sue Smith, old friends who now lovingly oversee their 8 acres of beautifully farmed fruit.
At Dutton-Goldfield, our pinot is hand sorted and destemmed into small open top fermenters and the must is then cold-soaked for 5 days to gently extract color, spice and fruit characters, while mitigating harsher tannins. The three blocks at Fox Den were fermented and barreled separately to optimize what we most love about each, then blended to our tastes in March of 2017. The core of the 2016 is the plush, more strawberry 777, then half as much of the blackberry, focused 667 clone. One of the pleasures of the spring blending is getting to hone barrel choices. Fox Den is all about the floral notes of Remond Trancais, but Taransaud holds down the bass tones, and Rousseau adds structure.
Food Pairing Notes
Any fish with a matching silky texture would make an excellent pairing, such as a mustard-crusted branzino, olive oil poached salmon, or steamed sea bass, as would a creamy cheese like Humboldt Fog