The spring of 2018 was warmer than the average over the previous 10 years, and fairly dry. Bud break happened in mid-April and Bloom in early June, which can be a treacherous undertaking as the spring weather can mess up a healthy flowering. A giant hail storm descended on the Dundee Hills in early June, but luckily none of our Sokol Blosser Estate crop was ruined. The summer started like one giant furnace; July was a hot month and we had a lot of above 90 degree days. Just when it seemed like the hot weather would not stop, August came and more moderate weather with it. This helped slow the ripening down, and even cooler weather in September allowed us to let the grapes hang longer, resulting in riper fruit without additional sugar accumulation. The 2018 vintage is our coolest growing season since 2012, and we believe it will be our best vintage since then.
The grapes from this block were carefully hand harvested from September 18th to the 22nd, picking three distinct sections which were kept separate through out the process. The clusters were then sorted by hand to remove any flawed bunches and 100% de-stemmed directly into their fermentation vessels. The wine was allowed to ferment with ambient yeast and spent 25+ days on the skins with cap management done by a combination of pump overs and punch downs. After being pressed at dryness the wine was aged entirely in French oak barrels for 18 months with with 17% new oak. The three sections which had been kept separate throughout fermentation and aging were blended to create our 2018 Big Tree Block, with 24 barrels selected to make the final blend.
Our 2018 Big Tree Block Pinot Noir has a light and floral nose with bright fruit. The palate has dark cherry, pomegranate and rhubarb notes.
This wine pairs well with classic dishes such as chicken Marsala and steak au poivre.
94 points - James Suckling
93 points - Wine & Spirits