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 fruit for this wine was farmed organically on our estate, and was hand harvested at peak ripeness on September 26th and 28th. The picked fruit was de-stemmed and sent straight to fermentation with a combination of commercial yeast and our house native yeast cultivated from our vineyards. During it's ~21 day fermentation, cap management was performed with strictly punch downs of the 3 ton fermenters, it was a cool vintage resulting in long, cool fermentations. Once the fermentation process was finished, the wine was pressed of the skins at dryness and barreled down in 100% French oak barrels with 24% new oak, and left to age for 16 months before bottling.
On the nose, this wine expresses wet forest floor and mushrooms, complemented by prune, dried cherry and cinnamon. On the palate, the nose largely carries
through, though it is joined by nutmeg and tobacco.
This wine will pair beautifully with boeuf bourguignon or lamb tagine.
The Watershed Block Pinot Noir comes from fruit harvested off of a section of the vineyard planted by founders Bill and Susan Sokol Blosser in the early 70s. Although replanted in 2006/2009 on rootstock, cuttings from fruiting vines were taken from the original plantings and grafted onto rootstock for the replant. The
original section of the Estate vineyard has a diversity of clones present.
92 points - 2019 Watershed Block Dundee Hills Estate Pinot Noir - James Suckling