Library-2012 Azaya Ranch Vineyard Pinot Noir
Azaya Ranch Vineyard
Aged 11 months in French Oak (50% New)
Open top fermentation, cold soak, punch down
Wine & Spirits
At Release: One winemaking pleasure is seeing the personality of a special vineyard in a special year just emanate from the moment of harvest. Such was certainly the case for our 2012 Azaya Ranch Vineyard Pinot Noir. From the day it was destemmed it was amongst the darkest, richest, most fruit forward and enticing tanks in the winery. The long, friendly 2012 growing season brought out the berry richness in this cold climate, tiny yielding vineyard, and enabled it to ripen to an opulence unusual in this part of the world. The first thing you notice about this wine is its exceptionally deep color and vibrant hue, whose promise is fulfilled by layered aromatics of blackberry, black cherry, cranberry and toffee. In the mouth, the luscious fruit continues with a sweet/tart combination of blackberry, cranberry and red cherry with overtones of cinnamon and nutmeg. The impression is of a huge, fruit focused, soft Pinot with no hard edges, like a 90-pound sheep dog who likes to sit in your lap (but smells better). Because of the great acidity and moderate alcohol, it still finishes with bright, fresh berry fruit. This is a great wine with a grass fed steak, local salmon on the grill, or certainly alone by a fire on the beach.
We at Dutton-Goldfield have a special affinity for exotic sites in sparsely planted Marin Coun-ty, 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 rip-ens very slowly, but the tiny berries stay plump and develop thick, chewy skins. For the Dut-ton-Goldfield offering, we harvest the 667 for its focused dark fruit character and structure, and 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 in-tensity, 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 thick, rich and lusciously soft nature of the 2012 Azaya just loved to soak up the earthy spice of Seguin Moreau Icone barrels, and absorb the sweet toffee of Taransaud barrels. The vivid fruit of this wine enticed us to bottle in August of 2013.
Food Pairing Notes
This is a great wine with a grass fed steak, local salmon on the grill, or certainly alone by a fire on the beach.