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Region/Origin: Carneros District Residual Sugar: 0.05% (dry) Total Acid: 0.57% Alcohol: 14.0% Final pH: 3.8 Blend: 1...Read more...
Region/Origin: Carneros District Residual Sugar: 0.05% (dry) Total Acid: 0.57% Alcohol: 14.0% Final pH: 3.8 Blend: 100% Pinot Noir Winemaker's Notes Our 1999 “Le Hibou” (The Great Owl) spotlights an exceptional section of Pinot Noir vines within our Huichica Hills Vineyard in the Carneros District. Huichica (we-cheek-ka) was the local Native American tribe’s name for the small, burrowing owls that live in the windswept hills of this region. The Native Americans believed these owls had supernatural powers. Today, we encourage owls in our vineyard, as natural predators, with raptor roosts. Our distinctive 1999 “Le Hibou” Pinot Noir unfolds in lush, ripe dark plum and blackberry, with nuances of smoke, minerals, sweet earth and rose. Wild yeast fermentation and aging in toasted Burgundian barrels enhanced the rich, expansive flavors. Only 237cases were produced. Vintage The La Niсa weather pattern of 1999 provided Napa Valley with a long growing season that produced remarkably high quality wines with fully developed varietal character. Compared to the El Niсo phenomenon in 1998, marked by dramatic changes in weather, this year had a milder growing season with average rainfall. Because of the cool temperatures, budbreak and bloom were later than average. Rainy weather during bloom caused decreased berry set and smaller yields in Pinot Noir. Harvest began slowly in mid-September; then a low humidity heat spell at the end of the month caused sugars to soar. We picked 45% of the fruit between Sept. 27 and Oct. 6. Perfect ripening weather wrapped up the harvest on November 4. The highly extracted flavors and silky tannins in our Pinot Noir are the signature of the vintage. Grapes: (Average) 25.2є Brix with 0.70% initial acid and 3.42pH Vineyard The Spotlight Series is a program established to present a handful of unique, small lot blends or vineyard-designated wines. The exceptional character of this section of our Huichica Hills Vineyard inspired us to showcase this wine as a “Spotlight”. We selected the grapes from vines near the top of the west-facing slope where the lower vigor soils yield small clusters. We have planted the site to the UCD 12 Pinot Noir clone, known for vibrant fruitiness. Our Huichica Hills Vineyard lies in the Carneros District at the southern end of Napa and Sonoma valleys. The recipient of numerous environmental awards, this vineyard uses earth-friendly, state-of-the-art viticultural practices, including intensive clonal research, vertical trellising, close spacing and integrated pest management. Grape Sourcing: 100% Huichica Hills Vineyard Fermentation & Aging We hand harvested the grapes at night, using lights in the vineyards, so the grapes would be as cool as possible. This technique helps us to capture the vivid fruit flavors and exceptional acid balance in the grapes. The cool grapes also begin fermentation slowly, allowing a “cold soak” (extraction of flavors from the skins into the juice) before the yeast are fully active, giving vibrant flavor development. The wine was fermented entirely with wild yeast in small oak tanks at our winery in our Huichica Hills Vineyard. We used the pigeage method of gently submerging the cap of skins into the juice and gravity movement of the must. An average of 19 days maceration (skin contact) naturally softened tannins and enhanced varietal complexity. We then transferred the wine to small French oak barrels (50% new oak) for a long, native malolactic fermentation and over 11 months of aging. During aging, we kept the wine on a thin layer of its natural lees for more complexity. Extremely gentle handling during all phases of the winemaking was instrumental in achieving natural clarity, allowing us to bottle without filtration.
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