Russian River Valley
15 months in French oak barrels
March 17, 2014
2012 Ellen's Block Pinot Noir
Ellen’s Block lies on a southerly facing slope just beyond the confines of our tasting room and enjoys some of the best views in the Russian River Valley. The soil is a heavy clay that is laden with river bed rocks suggesting the pres- ence of a previous tributary of the Russian River at this site. Geological ageing of the stones is consistent with this hypothesis. Ellen’s Block was originally planted to Syrah in 1998 but replanted to clone 37 Pinot Noir in 2006. This vineyard was once again extremely slow to establish itself and produced only negligible amounts of fruit for the first four years. The 2012 growing season continued with the recent trend that no two years are alike. The winter of 2012 did not really arrive until March when our sea- sonal rains finally arrived. The rains continued throughout the entire month, even during budbreak which occurred on time around March 17. The rest of the growing season was pleasant and mild. Crop set was unlike any seen in recent years with beautiful full primordia that gave way to big, fully shaped clusters. Berry size was a bit large but the fruit was as unblemished and per- fect as could be. Ellen’s Block was harvested on September 5, 2012, at a yield of 2.4 tons per acre.
After sorting, the grapes were destemmed into tanks for immediate fermenta- tion. A combination of tanks were used - small, open top tanks to enhance aro- matics and produce a wine with a softer palate and larger closed tanks for bet- ter color and structure development. Thrice daily pneumatic punch downs and pump overs took place throughout fermentation. Once dry, the wine was gen- tly pressed in a membrane press keeping free run and press fractions separate. Malolactic fermentation took place in oak barrels.