2017 The Stalker Pinot Noir 1.5L
Winemaker's Vintage Notes
2017 vintage was completely different from the previous three years when vintners harvested their grapes earlier than normal. The wet, cool spring delayed flowering until late June, setting the stage for a later harvest. Hot, dry conditions prevailed through the summer and fruit set was higher than average requiring thinning to ensure incredible wines. There is a fresh fruit component and complexity that emerges to the forefront in the wines.
Stalker Winemaking Process
There are a few ways that winemakers use grape stalks to flavor their wines... and then there’s my way. While I’ve never been a fan of whole cluster fermentation for my wines, I am influenced by the way the Valpolicella region of Italy age whole clusters. I also agree with the late winemaker, Aaron Hess’ distaste for fresh stalks. And, I have an abiding love of whole berry fermentation. With these preferences in mind, I took a bit of a “walk on the wild side” to produce a unique Stalker Pinot Noir. I found a technique allowing 100% of the stems to age for 10 days before being incorporated into the Pinot Noir berries at the start of fermentation. The rest of the process will remain a mystery. I can tell you that it takes a heck of a lot of manual work, but results in a wine with spice-laced tannin from the stalks, without the “greenness” of a traditional whole cluster press, similar to the stylings of Mescal. The unexpected surprise is an increased sense of mid-palate texture. After fermentation, the pressing and barreling remains the same as for our other Pinot Noirs. The wine is aged in a mix of new to three year-old French oak barrels for at least 18 months
Winemaker's Tasting Notes
Out of the glass, this wine is immediately woodsy like dried morels; the spice effect is amazing with black pepper and pork belly essences. Traces of black cherry skin are lingering in the background and will become more apparent with age. This Pinot Noir grips your palate with a sneaky first wave of tannin. Then, wild abandoned blackberry vine fruit takes hold, and balanced stemmy spices like marjoram and mace tame this “Wild Thing” of a Pinot Noir. - Rollin Soles, Winemaker
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