Appellation: Chamisal Vineyard, Edna Valley
Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir
Clones: 114, 667, 777
Oak treatment: 16 months in 60% new French oak
Cases made: 796
Release date: May 2011
Retail price: $60
Chamisal Vineyards 2009 Califa Pinot Noir was rated 93 points and featured as one of the "Best of the Best" California Pinot Noirs in the Summer 2012 issue of Quarterly Review of Wines.
Chamisal was the first vineyard planted in the Edna Valley in 1973 and now contains 80 acres planted to 5 varieties and 25 clonal selections. The nearby Pacific ocean creates a long temperate growing season for exceptional hang time, which combines with the calcareous, clay-rich soil to produce fruit with exceptional intensity and complex flavors.
The third year of a drought was combined with a cool spring and summer. A long, slow ripening curve followed by an early September heat wave created very concentrated flavors in the Pinot Noir. A cooler period in late September allowed us to pace our picking and gave greater differentiation to the blocks and clones.
Picked at night and hand sorted in the vineyard, the grapes were then gently destemmed and gravity fed into small, open-top fermenters. After a cold soak of five days, fermentation was initiated using both native and cultured yeasts with hand punch downs several times daily. The wines were drained off by taste with press wine kept separate after fermentations of 8-11 days. Following an intense barrel selection process, the best 15% of barrels were reserved for our Califa bottling and aged for an additional five months (16 months total) in 60% new French oak.
Every year the final blend of our Califa Pinot varies based on whichever clones have performed best that vintage. For 2009, it was a blend of 3 core clones: 114, 667 and 777. Clone 114 is full of lovely dark berry fruit. 667 has spice, power and structure, a great all-around performer. 777 provides powerful, ripe black and red fruit characters.
Varietal aromas of mixed red and black fruit folds into classic Chamisal characters of bergamot and savory spice. A structured, concentrated palate of cranberry and blackberry begs for some time in the cellar.