Very dark garnet in color, with a big, brooding, black cherry nose, it shows hints of tobacco, exotic spices, black coffee, and toast. The palate is rich, juicy, and highly extracted, with bright berries and cream flavors. A wine with intense structure but no trace of harshness, and its finish just goes on and on.
Silver Medal, 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
The grapes for this Pinot Noir came exclusively from our Wildcat Mountain Vineyard, owned by Steve MacRostie and his partners Nancy and Tony Lilly. Here the vines dig into the sparse volcanic soil and stand firm against the strong winds that race in off of the Pacific Ocean most afternoons. This fog-shrouded mountaintop vineyard is a classic Sonoma Coast site, cool and challenging, and produces wines of great distinction.
The 2010 growing season, which followed was cool with heavy fogs. Things moved slowly all summer long, and we were able to pick—later than usual—based on flavors rather than sugar. All of our grapes achieved optimum flavor ripeness without excessive sugar levels, and maintained their natural acid balance. Yields were customarily low at Wildcat, around three tons per acre, delivering fruit with intense flavor. The grapes that eventually went into this blend were harvested by hand on October 7, 2010.
The fruit was gently destemmed into small open-top fermentors, using careful sorting and procedures to avoid any pumping of must. Inoculation with select yeast strains followed a three-day cold soak, and the caps were managed with a combination of pumpovers and punchdowns. The best barrels from three clonal blocks were selected for this Wildcat Pinot Noir: 667 for color and structure, 115 for rich, deep fruit, and 777 for pretty, complex aromatics. After ten months of ageing in exclusively French oak barrels, 30% of which were new, we bottled it on August 8, 2011.