2017 Devil's Gulch Vineyard Pinot Noir
Devil's Gulch Vineyard
October 2-4, 2017
Aged 16 months in French oak (50% new)
Open top fermentation, cold soak, punch down
The cool summer weather kept the berries and overall crop tiny as usual at Devil’s Gulch. Coastal sites like Devil’s don’t get hit with heat spikes like inland locations, so the vineyard was able to hang its fruit through the Fall to give it the long ripening time it loves. This perfect maturity is evident when you look at the dense, dark, alluring color of the wine in the glass. Sweet blackberry and raspberry compote aromas leads the way, accented by the scent of a breeze through redwood trees. With time, lilac and cinnamon peek out from underneath the candied berry. Mouth-filling rich waves of wild berry goodness spread across your palate, enveloping you in its heady embrace. The wine finishes with a kiss of sweet berry cobbler.
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 cold-soaked 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 2018. 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.
Food Pairing Notes
Savory herbed roasted duck, and of course Devil’s Gulch rabbit, would counterpoint the fruit flavors perfectly.