Our Pinot Gris comes from a small corner of our Oak Knoll Vineyard, where we have two Pinot Gris clones, clone 152 and the DVX clone, planted adjacent to each other. This vineyard, located at the southern end of the valley, just below Yountville, is the second-coolest growing region within the Napa Valley. Not only does it enjoy breezes from San Pablo Bay to the south, but it also sits just east of a beneficial gap in the Mayacamas Mountains, which allows Pacific breezes to funnel in from the west. Combined, these cooling influences balance the warm days, creating grapes with well-balanced aromas and flavors.
The 2015 growing season in the Napa Valley was of outstanding quality marked with ideal weather throughout and no issues from frost, heat spikes or rain. The continuation of California’s drought brought a dry winter followed by a dry and early spring with an early bud break. Weather was warm and consistent throughout late spring and summer which allowed for full development in the grapes. Harvest began in August, and although overall crop loads were low due to continued drought conditions the quality and depth of flavor of the fruit was excellent.
Our style of Pinot Gris echoes that of Alsace, capturing ripe fruit character finely tuned with dazzling aromas, nice body and subtle hints of spice. To achieve this, we evenly blended two Alsatian Pinot Gris clones, clone 152 and the DVX clone, which gave us a wonderful balance of aromas and flavors as well as adding a rich textural element to the wine. After the grapes were picked, the challenge was to maintain those distinct flavors while avoiding any of the color or tannins that are trapped in the copper-hued skins of the Pinot Gris. At the winery, we used gentle handling, lightly pressing the grapes clear from their skins. The juice was then allowed to cool and settle before being racked into stainless steel tanks for fermentation. We maintained low temperatures for a long, slow fermentation, which further preserved the delicate, dancing fruit character.