2010 Hilltop Ranch Pinot Noir
Hilltop Ranch Vineyard
14 months in French oak barrels, 40% new
The grapes were harvested by hand. At the winery we gently destemmed them, then they were fermented in open top tanks and punched down gently. The wines were drained and pressed then aged in French oak, 40% new, for 14 months. The wine is unfined and unfiltered. It is a blend of fruit from all of the blocks in the vineyard and is a powerful, dark, rich wine with aromas and flavors of plums, tobacco, leather, earth, smoke and spice. It will benefit from bottle ageing and it will do well in the cellar for at least the next 10 years. We recommend giving this wine some air after opening, or decanting it.
This small bottling of Pinot Noir is from our Estate vineyard 700 feet above sea level and 14 miles from the ocean in Carmel Valley. The grapes that come from this vineyard are generally of small size and are much darker and richer than most Pinot Noir fruit, and we attribute this to soil, clonal selections, and climate. The soil is known locally as “chalk rock” which is a mineral- rich shale. This soil reluctantly surrenders its nutrients, making the vines struggle, thus producing a flavorful, interesting wine. This vineyard is managed sustainably in the Carmel River watershed and is located only a few hundred feet from the lower Carmel Valley AVA.