2017 Deviate Pinot Noir
September 4 & 18, 2017
Aged 17 months in French oak (55% new barrels)
Open top fermentation, cold soak, punch down
Our 2017 Deviate practically jumps out of the glass to greet you, letting you know this is going to be one outgoing and effusive wine. Bold aromas of black cherry and black raspberry are underlain with tobacco, thyme, and licorice interwoven with pretty violet floral accents. The wine is mouth-filling and rich, unfurling brambly berry flavors. There’s a tension to the winey, portending of the unwinding that will come with time in the bottle or glass. Black tea notes support the assertive black raspberry fruit, with firm tannins carrying everything to a long, sandalwood-laced finish. Big, bold flavors and dishes will pair happily with this intense wine. Try it with beef tenderloin with ancho and fennel seeds, lamb stew, or duck curry. We especially love the way the peppercorns in Bellwether’s Pepato cheese match with the wine.
In 2013, we made one deviation from our usual focus on single vineyard bottlings, to craft Deviate, our stellar blend from two far flung Sonoma Coast Vineyards. Along with this being a deviation from our usual course, this was our 8th designated vineyard pinot bottling with the winery code name of DV8, so Deviate seemed the perfect name. The wine proved to be so popular that the tradition continues. Steve planted Jentoft Vineyard in Green Valley to Calera clone in 2003, and the site produces structured, spicy, dark wines. Putnam Vineyard is near Annapolis, on the far Sonoma Coast. It’s an area defined by cooler days, warmer nights, and very high sun intensity; which produces a wine with unctuous fruit depth and rugged tannins. The juicy, berry fruit from Putnam blends beautifully with the concentrated focus of Jentoft. The light soil hillside of Jentoft ripens fairly quickly, while the burly far coast takes a bit longer. Together they offer us a very limited production wine that’s quickly become a favorite with our best wine club friends.
After hand sorting and destemming each block into small open top fermenters, the must is cold-soaked for 5 days in order to gently extract color, spice and fruit characters, while mitigat¬ing harsher tannins. The lots are punched down between 1 and 3 times per day depending on the stage of fermentation, and character of the lot. With this wine, we chose barrels to accentuate the roundness and spice of the wine. Instead of choosing one signature barrel, we spread out to three of our favorite barrels with big personality. The Seguin Moreau Icone barrel brings out the earthy mushroom quality of the wine, the Hermitage adds its spicy boldness, and Taransaud chimes in with its beautiful base notes of richness. We bottled the wine in early May of 2019.
Food Pairing Notes
A dish that echoes this fruit and spice theme would pair nicely, such as spice-rubbed chicken with an agrodolce sauce of raisins and pine nuts or roasted tomatoes, or a sheep cheese with peppercorns, like Bellwether’s Pepato.