Russian Hill’s Estate Vineyards provide a rich source of Pinot noir from various soil types and clones. The majority of the fruit is from our SunnyView Vineyard, located southeast of the winery in the Santa Rosa Plain region of the Russian River Valley. This vineyard’s soil consists of layers of clay and sand that seem to provide a good balance between water retention and drainage. The area is low lying with very cool, foggy conditions in both the spring and summer. As a result, yields are typically well below normal, except in more productive years where they might be considered “normal”. We planted this vineyard in 1999 to Dijon clones 667, 777 and Pommard; one additional acre was later budded over to Dijon 828. A small portion of this wine is also sourced from our home site,
Tara Vineyard, which we planted in 1998 with Dijon clone 115. The 2010 growing season was cool, cool, cool except for a three day heat spike in August. Spring seemed to go on eternally in 2010, with rains extending into June, something rarely seen in northern California. June and July actually set record cold temperatures! September was similarly cool and harvest plans were frequently cancelled and postponed.
After sorting, the grapes were gently destemmed into small, custom designed open top fermenters and kept below 50°F for a five day cold soak. Tanks were then individually warmed to allow fermentation to take place in a timely manner followed by cooling, as needed, to maintain temperatures below 85°F. Thrice daily pneumatic punch downs took place during the cold soak and fermentation. Once dry, the wine was gently pressed in a membrane press keeping free run and press fractions separate. Malolactic fermentation took place in oak barrels.