2008 Pinot Noir, Oehlman Vineyard
The 2008 vintage was big, and this Pinot Noir is no exception. This vintage is a bigger bodied wine that is darker in color and richer in flavor than previous years. For me, this vintage is one of my favorites; it is smooth and luscious in the mouth and bursting with fantastic aromas. Ripe cherry fruit leaps from the glass and keeps going with a rich, silky finish that begs for another sip. I have tasted the progression of this wine in the barrel and it has only improved over time. With almost 50% new French oak, the wine is so beautifully integrated that it is hard to pick out the oak component in the floral aromatics. This wine also has great acidity that helps it pair with many different foods as well as assisting it to age and improve in the bottle. I would hold on to this wine for a year or two to get the most potential out of this wine but no more that 10 (good luck with that! I can’t even wait until we release it). The Oehlman family has been farming their land on Vine Hill Rd., nestled between famous Pinot vineyards, for five generations. The bald eagles are back to nest in a grove of eucalyptus trees next to the vineyard, and we hope to catch a glimpse of the fledglings eagles next time we visit. The vineyard is planted with Martini clone Pinot Noir, which is one of the original clones planted in Russian River Valley. We crush the grapes into one-ton open top fermentors and keep them cool for 5 days with dry ice to allow the juice to extract as much flavor and color from the skins before the fermentation begins. During fermentation, we ‘punch down’ the grape skins every hour or so to keep them submerged in the juice. The wine is pressed out into 50% new French Oak barrels and aged for 18 months before bottling.