2019 Devil's Gulch Vineyard Pinot Noir
Devil's Gulch Vineyard
October 7, 10 & 12, 2019
Aged 16 months in French oak (50% new barrels)
Devil’s Gulch fans will be even more thrilled with this bottling, as it turns both the fruit and spice we all love from the site up to 11. The nose is totally enveloping, drawing you deep into the glass with dense aromas of redwood-laced wild berries. It feels like walking through a forest as the sun comes out just after a spring rain, making you blissful to just smell the wine for a bit. Your first sip follows through with raucous berries—cherry, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, and more—all filling your mouth in a happy embrace. Sandalwood, tobacco, and a touch of thymes provide a savory supporting structure to the fruit. A full and lusciously rich finish spreads across your palate and lingers until you can’t help going for the next sip.
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 2020. 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 April 2021.
Food Pairing Notes
Enjoy it now with Devil’s Gulch rabbit, pork, lamb, or quail that grow with it, in dishes like bacon-stuffed mushrooms and lamb meatloaf; for cheeses, stay local with Nicasio Valley’s Reserve or Foggy Morning.
94, Owen Bargreen; 93, Planet Grape; 93, International Wine Review; 92, Burghound.com