2019 Azaya Ranch Vineyard Pinot Noir
Azaya Ranch Vineyard
October 1, 2019
Aged 17 months in French oak (50% new barrels)
April of 2021
The saturated color lets you know this is going to be a luscious wine, and nose confirms it, with unctuous aromas of raspberry coulis, dried cranberries, and creamy red cherry. Vanilla and a hint of forest floor provide a spicy counterpoint to the sweet fruit. These scents are followed through in the fresh and pure flavors of Bing cherry, strawberry licorice, and pomegranate, flowing along on a bouncy acidity ride. Fine-grained tannins carry a touch of baking spices and black tea on the finish.
We at Dutton-Goldfield have a special affinity for exotic sites in sparsely planted Marin County, and Azaya Ranch perfectly fits the bill. Mark Pasternak planted Azaya Ranch for the McEvoy family on an ideal south and west facing hill in Hicks Valley. This could be the sweet spot of Marin Viticulture: in the cold heart, but on a protected, well-drained slope. Mark and Dan chose 5 clones for this 18-acre ranch: 667, 828, 115, 777 and a touch of 2A. The fruit ripens very slowly, but the tiny berries stay plump and develop thick, chewy skins. For the Dutton-Goldfield offering, we harvest the 667 for its focused dark fruit character and structure, the 828 for its lively high tones, and a touch of 115 for its aromatic beauty. With its great natural acidity, the hallmark of this neighborhood is precise and nuanced berry fruit, lively intensity, and a refreshing lingering finish.
After hand sorting and destemming into a small open top fermenter, the must is cold-soaked for 7 days in order to gently extract color, spice and fruit characters, while mitigating harsher tannins. To further this aim, no SO2 was used at the crusher. Gentle treatment helps bring the innate floral and berry notes of this wine to the forefront and preserve its intricate complexity. We punch down 1 to 3 times daily, according to the stage of the fermentation; less often and shorter at later stages to avoid bitter tannin pickup. After initial aging in 45% new wood, we blended in the early spring to homogenize the wine and hone our barrel choices. The bright and juicy nature of the wine loves to soak up the earthy spice of Seguin Moreau Icone barrels, and absorb the sweet toffee of Taransaud barrels.
Food Pairing Notes
You can go with either rich dishes to counterpoint the wine, like rack of lamb, roasted duck, or a pasta carbonara, or lighter fresh ones to pair, such as broiled swordfish or halibut, a Swiss chard and mushroom galette, or chicken kabobs. Fresh sweet cheeses like a creamy goat or Marin’s petite breakfast brie make great mates.
93, Planet Grape; 97, Wine Enthusiast - Cellar Selection; 93, International Wine Review; 91, Burghound.com