In our 45th growing year at Sokol Blosser we saw something very special: our earliest bloom on record. While we had bud break later in 2016 than we had in 2015, the warm weather in April and May progressed the vine growth enough to push up bloom. You can just about set your clock from the time of bloom to the first day of harvest...100 days. When we had bloom on May 20 (mid-June is more typical for the start of bloom) we could see that August 28 would be the start of harvest. An August start date is not scary, it is what mother nature gives you. It was not an especially dry year as we received our typical heavy rains during the winter of 2015/2016, and had some wet weather during our early bloom in May/June which ended up destroying a lot of the clusters. The destruction of some of the crop during flowering was a good thing as mother nature has been giving us big crops for the past few years and getting a more normal crop load (2-3 tons an acre) was welcomed. After the rain, during bloom, we had a dry summer with heat spikes at the end of July and August. We were very happy with the fruit knowing it would be a quality vintage.
The grapes from this block were carefully hand harvested, then sorted by hand to remove any flawed bunches and 100% de-stemmed directly into their fermentation vessels. One-third of the fruit was fermented in an oak upright tank and two-thirds in stainless steel fermenters. Cap management was done via gentile punch downs up to two times per day. Post fermentation, 30% of the blend was wine that went through extended maceration with 30 days on the skin, the remaining portion was pressed off the skins at dryness (~10 days skin). This wine was aged for 17 months entirely in French oak barrels. For the final blend, 16 barrels were hand selected.
Our 2016 Big Tree Block Estate Pinot Noir has a nose rich in spices and ripe raspberries. This wine has a complex mouthfeel and soft tannins with notes of pie cherries. You will be left with strong mineral tones, black pepper and wild plum on the finish.
Serve with hearty meats like smoked teres major with chanterelle mushrooms, or with roasted chicken seasoned with wild fennel pollen and roasted baby potatoes.
What is a boy to do when his favorite boyhood climbing tree is ruthlessly chopped down by his father in the name of grape growing? Well, Alex Sokol Blosser is still trying to figure that one out. Until then, Alex drinks Big Tree Pinot Noir and thinks about climbing the strong limbs of a solitary, beautiful, and graceful Big Leaf Maple Tree that used to lie smack dab in the middle of a block of pinot noir. Big Tree is strong like its namesake with the most powerful tannins of any pinot noir coming off our estate. Shallow soil on this site makes the vines struggle more than the rest of our vineyard and produces strength in the wine. The tannins are something your taste buds can climb up, just like Alex used to be able to do when there was a tree there.
If you appreciate the characteristics of Big Tree Block, you will also enjoy wines from our Peach Tree Block.