2014 Couloir Chileno Valley Vineyard Pinot Noir, Marin County
Wine Enthusiast 94 Points. Editors' Choice: "This wine grabs the attention with a distinctive earthy, wild yet sophisticated personality. The aroma is like forest floor, dried mushrooms and black tea. Flavors convey rhubarb and plum but also are savory and smoky as they fill the mouth and linger on the finish."
PinotFile 92 Points: "Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Like a walk in a forest after a rain, featuring aromas of cedar, pine and sandalwood along with crushed wild berries off the vine. Delightfully composed, with middleweight flavors of boysenberry and dark raspberry along with a touch of smoke. Very fine-grain tannins create a sensual texture and the wine finishes with a dazzling array of berry flavors. Score: 92"
Situated on the southern border of the Petaluma Gap in Marin County, and bordering Sonoma County to the north, the maritime climate of the Chileno Valley Vineyard is influenced by two bodies of water: the Pacific Ocean along Marin’s west coast, and the San Pablo Bay along its southern flank. While bud break often happens earlier in this area compared with other California grape growing regions, gentle salt-air breezes constantly sweep over Marin's verdant rolling hillsides to provide one of the longest growing seasons in the state. The soils of Chileno Valley Vineyard include patches of the Steinbeck soil series and eroded sandstone, offering a complex fruit profile and minerality.
The Pinot Noir was hand-harvested into half-ton picking bins and brought directly to the winery, where dry ice was feathered into the bins to prevent spoilage and oxidation. The bins were then placed in cold storage for a 24-hour resting period before being hand-sorted. Whole-cluster fermentation of one quarter of the grapes contributed to the bright flavor and complex taste profile. The grapes received a cold soak for seven days to extract maximum color from the skins, while the chill prevented the start of fermentation. The fruit was then removed from refrigeration, warming and activating the native yeasts. One gentle punch down per day minimized tannin extraction from the skins, allowing the stems to provide the wine’s structure. The grapes were then pressed, and the wine was gravity-fed into eight French oak barrels -- 35% new, the remainder once used and neutral. The wine received neither racking, nor fining, nor filtering.
Variety 100% Pinot Noir
Vineyard Chileno Valley Vineyard, Marin County
Production 194 cases
Optimal Maturity 2016-2023
Harvested Sept 11, 2014
Barrel Aging 12 Months, 15% new French Oak
Winemaker Jon Grant