The 2014 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is a co-fermentation of three different clones, heavily dominated by Swan.
All harvested together, then split into two lots – one fermented with AMH yeast, the other with 3001. The idea behind using these two yeasts is to let the wine benefit from the structure provided by the AMH strain, while accentuating the fruit with the 3001. It was then sent to barrel for more than 18 months, an exceptionally long time for Pinot Noir.
Everything in this wine tends toward brightness and clarity of fruit. The final alcohol is somewhere around 13.5%. The wine was aged exclusively in used French oak barrels, none less than two years old, with an eye toward preserving the delicate, floral character that is unique to Pinot Noir and is often lost by over-ripeness or too much oak.
The nose is clear and bright and true to varietal character: rose petals, bramble, cranberry. The palate shows that this wine is still young; while the mouth-feel is decidedly delicate, there is quite a bit of lingering tannin. Unusually good acid keeps the whole flavor profile high and bright all the way through with lots of pure, red fruit – raspberry, strawberry, rhubarb. There are tertiary notes on the finish of dustiness and mint. That same trace of mint is noticeable in the 2013 Swan Clone Pinot still in barrel.
The youth of this wine warrants pointing out again. Even as it is defined by delicacy and brightness, it has the acid and tannin to age for many years. The absence of new barrels has something to do with this, too. Just as a light hand with the oak allows the fruit to shine in this wine’s youth, it will likewise allow the secondary characteristics that develop with age to emerge clearly.