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 were carefully hand harvested on September 23rd. They were then sorted by hand on the crush pad to remove any flawed bunches and 100% de-stemmed directly into several 3-ton stainless steel fermenters. Fermentation took place with a combination of ambient yeast, cultivated house yeast, and commercial yeasts. Cap management was done via gentle punch downs up to 2 times per day. The wine from this block was drained and pressed off the skins immediately following primary fermentation with 20 days of skin contact time. This wine was aged in 100% French oak barrels for 18 months, with 25% new oak.
Our 2018 Orchard Block Pinot Noir has notes of tobacco, pomegranate, raspberry and black cherry on the nose, as well as a subtle hint of chantrelle and nutmeg. On the palate, pomegranate and raspberry shine through with red cherries and a subtle dash of clove. A delicate Pinot Noir, the 2018 Orchard Block has lower tannins and brighter acidity.
This wine pairs with creamy dishes such as Cacio e Pepe and mushroom dishes like wild mushroom risotto or roasted cauliflower with truffles.
93 points - James Suckling
92 points - Wine Spectator