Of the several hundred clones of Pinot Noir in existence, the Pommard clone was among the first to be brought over legally from France.
In the 1940’s, Dr. Harold Olmo, known as the “Plant Explorer” for his dedication to discovery, imported cuttings from Château de Pommard, the largest holding in the commune of Pommard. One of these became the basis for UCD4 and its heat-treated cousins UCD5 and 6. (A heat-treated vine is one grown in a superheated environment so it grows faster than a virus can replicate.) These latter two vines were distributed by FPMS (Foundation Plant Material Service, now called FPS) in the early 60’s, and were widely planted throughout Oregon and California in the 60’s and 70’s. Pommard is respected for good color, intense fruit, considerable spice, and perhaps most notably, luxurious mouthfeel.
We source the Pommard clone from Old Road #3 Vineyard, planted by Andrew Flocchini in 2002. This cool site at the southern edge of Sonoma Coast—the Petaluma Gap region—has sandy-loam soil, and tends to produce wines that are light and elegant. We harvested the grapes in early September, fermented with about 1/3 whole clusters, gave them a 3-day cold soak with twice-daily hand punchdowns, then racked the wine to neutral French barrels. No fining and minimal filtering was employed. We bottled just over 3 barrels in early January of 2016.
The nose of the 2014 Carpenter Pommard is full and rich, with intense aromas of cinnamon stick, dried mushrooms, and black plums. Juicy and spicy, with a velvety texture, the wine fills the palate, hitting all the notes: bitter, salty, sweet, acidic, and umami-esque. The fruit is more blue-black than red—wild blueberries, damson plums—and the finish is slightly bitter with notes of dark chocolate. Drink now or hold for 5-7 years.