The 2016 Carneros Pinot Noir has a vibrant ruby color and bright red berry-fruit expression. Aromas of ripe Bing cherry, fresh raspberry and strawberry lead to delicate nuances of sweet baking spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.
We sourced the Pinot Noir grapes from our Beaulieu Vineyard Ranches No. 9, 8 and 5 in the Los Carneros American Viticultural Area (AVA). Here, at the southernmost tip of Napa Valley near the San Francisco Bay, the cool, marine fog in the morning and winds in the afternoon foster vibrantly fruity Pinot Noir. The vines of our estate vineyards are rooted in Haire and Diablo clay loam soils; they are grafted to a blend of Dijon clones for tiers of flavors, with a Pommard clone for structure.
The extended drought was beginning to cause real concern as the 2016 growing season kicked off, but some welcomed winter rain hinted at the relief to come. After a relatively dry January we enjoyed significant rainfall in February, along with mild temperatures. Bud break was early, but was slowed by heavy April showers. While still early by historical standards, picking began about a week later than 2015, right around Labor Day, and continued at a leisurely pace, allowing the grapes to reach full flavor maturity. A traditionally sized harvest followed the lighter showing of 2015, and the extended mild season helped to balance the acids and add complexity to the layers of flavors. Considered a perfect harvest and a winemaker’s dream vintage, conditions were perfect for producing a Pinot Noir with beautiful fruit and aromatic integrity.
At night, under lights, all of the grapes were harvested into bins to preserve their freshness and acidity. After being sorted, the grapes were gently destemmed and then cold soaked for gentle color and flavor extraction, before being fermented in stainless steel tanks and French oak vats. Malolactic fermentation and aging in French oak barrels rounded the wine’s acidity and married the fruit expression with toasty oak spice.