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Pinot Noir from the Devil’s Gulch Vineyard in Marin County. Deep coloured, pure, rich and polished, dark berry fruit with exotic flavours of bergamot, candied fruit, and tea. This is a real phenomenon of a Pinot Noir with, arguably little distinctive Pinot Noir character as such, but character of its own in spades. We asked Sean why this should be so, and here is what he said:
”The answer, aside from anything I do in winemaking, is a matter of vineyard characteristics, a term I prefer to terroir, since it involves so much less sanctimonius mystification, while maintaining a clear way to discuss those characteristics in a wine that do indeed seem to come in directly from the vineyard. In this case, it has almost nothing to do with soil types and all that, but with exposure, wind, and fruit set. Devil's Gulch Ranch is situated on a hill above and to the east of the Nicasio reservoir, which is only a few miles from the Pacific, and directly in the path of a slot through which the prevailing winds blow in off the ocean. This ensures a miserable fruit set; the clusters, of which there are many, nonetheless yield very little, since they're mostly tiny "shot berries", of which there are millions, so named for their resemblance to buckshot. Vineyard people call it hens & chicks, since there will be a few fully formed berries, and hundreds of tiny ones, thus an enormously higher proportion of skins to juice than normal. Since colour and flavour in red wine making depend almost entirely on skins, the effect is obvious: both flavour and colour will be far more intense than is "normal", since the fruit is quite different to begin with. ”
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