It was clear something was different with the 2019 harvest when fruit flies were spotted at Thistle Vineyard over Labor Day Weekend. The second sign was the dramatic shift in the weather forecast. At the end of August, we believed we would have a “warmer and drier” than average September/October. Sounds good huh?!?!? Then, at the end of September we got 2.7” of rain... which is double the average, and we had one of the coolest Septembers on record. We remembered and applied the key learnings from prior similar vintages in our approach to the 2019 harvest – get the grapes as ripe as possible with as little fruit degradation as possible. Even with a longer hang time this year the grapes had less sugar, high pHs and high acids. Consequently, we based our picking decision more on the taste of the juice and looking at the weather. We had 5 distinct rain events from when we started harvest on September 3 to when we ended picking on October 10th, and these individual rain events sometimes lasted multiple days. In the end, we got as much ripeness as possible and are very happy about what we put into barrel.
The grapes were hand harvested on September 23rd and October 1st in this founding section of the Sokol Blosser Estate. They were then sorted by hand to remove any flawed bunches and 100% de-stemmed directly into 3-ton stainless steel fermenters. The Pommard and Wadenswil (making up 50% of the grapes), were inoculated with a native yeast while remaining half, composed entirely of Pinot Droit, was inoculated with a commercial yeast. Cap management was done via gentile punch downs up to 2 times per day. Fermentation was long and cool, with the Pommad-Wadenswil lot taking 14 days and the Pinot Droit taking 21 days. This wine was aged in 100% French oak barrels, with 20% new oak for 16 months with minimal SO2 levels.
On the nose, this wine shines with black cherry, boysenberry, complemented by vanilla, clove, tar and mushroom. The palate continues the fruits and mushrooms, but they are joined by clove and flint.
This wine will pair beautifully with lamb burgers, pork with cranberry relish, and fried maitake mushrooms.
The Old Vineyard Block Pinot Noir comes from fruit harvested off of the initial section of the vineyard planted by founders Bill and Susan Sokol Blosser in the early 70s. Although replanted in 2007/2009 on rootstock, cuttings from fruiting vines were taken from the original plantings and grafted onto rootstock for the replant. In honor of our 50th anniversary, we have recreated our original label and have chosen this vineyard block to celebrate the occasion.
2018 - (92) James Suckling
2017 - (93) James Suckling, (91) Wine Spectator