We continue to charge down a winemaking path that shows no clemency to the esoteric palate. Not subtle, not restrained, this wine style does not demand intellectualism. Not even rationalism. This wine discourages contemplative introspection. This is a wine that favors the lusty embrace of a hedonist.
2009 fermented more slowly than any wine I have ever made. Indeed, it wasn’t until one week before the next harvest that we finally put the 2009 to bed. This odd situation became the source of amusement among us, with monthly Tricycle meetings marked by “official” fermentation status reports (“July: 5 grams sugar remain. Steady as she goes”). There was never anything to be alarmed by, as progress was continuous and the wine never tired or oxidized. There is youth and vitality to the 2009 that is related to the aging clock being reset at the end of fermentation, nearly a year later than normal. The citrus, apple and white peach flavors are bright and alive, with gorgeous, rich brioche aromas due to the prolonged lives of the yeast.
Planted originally in 1973 by the Molnar Family and more recently again due to the ravages of phylloxera, this bump of a hill looks over the Napa Valley Marina, our immediate neighbors in the deep south of Carneros. Masts from the hauled-out boats cast shadows on the vines — we are that close. But the real story here is the legendary Boon Fly, whose house of 16 fireplaces stood a century ago atop our Pinot Noir vineyard Primo’s Hill, as it is he who is buried here on his hill.
This was the third drought year in a row and the vines revealed the stress with weak shoot growth and small berries. In the micro-economy of a grapevine, adversity is often inversely proportional to quality and I love the 2009 vintage perhaps in part due to these conditions. Although winter did not afford enough rain, the growing season was quite merciful on the vines; considerate and consistent. No frosts or rain compromised bloom and set, and hardly a spike of heat singed the developing berries.
Michael Blaise Terrien, Founding Winemaker