Passion Pinot Noir

Passion is a single-vineyard, single-clone, single-varietal Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley.

Passion is a fine example of a lean and polished Burgundy which can be quite a difficult wine to understand. It has a light color, higher acidity, light tannins and, like all great Burgundies, 60% of its pleasure comes from its aroma.

Passion shows a light garnet color leading to intense cherry fruit aromas with hints of delicate rose petals. Rich, ripe fruit leads into a sensual, soft mouth feel and a pleasant, slightly tart finish.

Pinot Noir is the most terroir-conscious grape variety. It demands attention to the area of origin, the types of soil, the daily weather patterns influencing the vineyard and how the grower manages the crop.

Russian River Valley with diverse soils, warm days, cool nights, summer fog and a long growing season coaxes Pinot Noir grapes to slow, consistent, perfectly balanced maturity.

Pinot Noir is a grape variety where quality suddenly reduces when the yield rises above three tons per acre, a minimal amount for a commercial grower so the best Pinot wines usually come from winemakers who also grow the grapes.

Passion is a Pinot Noir produced from a single vineyard site of slightly higher elevation in the Russian River Valley emulating the style of a Grand Cru Burgundy, a monocépage, made from one grape variety and one vineyard.

Designed for cellaring Passion will show best with five to seven years age from the vintage year.

Passion should be enjoyed cool at a temperature: 60°F

Passion Pinot Noir ~ Dijon or Heritage clones?

Grapevines are propagated by taking buds from vines and planting them in another location thus creating a "clone".

All Pinot Noir grape clones planted in North American originally came from France and there are more than forty certified clones. Most Northern California and Oregon Pinot Noir is produced from University of Dijon clones developed in the 1990s in order to produce vines that would ripen earlier by promoting rapid sugar accumulation.

Once planted in California and Oregon however each clone in turn responded uniquely to its vineyard site and today each produces a different wine, based on its terroir. Due to the genetic instability of the Pinot grape there are now hundreds of variants, each with its own personality, all vastly differing from Pinot Noir produced in Burgundy.

Winemakers found that single Dijon clones usually make a simple wine. Rapid sugar accumulation does not allow the sufficient ripening "hang" time to develop flavor complexity and widespread planting of Dijon clones has led to a homogenization of Oregon and California Pinot Noir. It is therefore usual for Dijon clone Pinot to be blended either with wines from other Pinot clones or with Grenache or Syrah wines to add complexity and character.

We adopted the Pommard clone, originally sourced from the Château de Pommard in Burgundy and introduced to California in the 1970s. This is now called the “Heritage Clone" and so the Passion vineyard is 100% Pommard clone on 104-14 rootstock using no Dijon clones. The vines are trained to cordons with reduced grape clusters per cordon and yield is limited to three tons per acre. Cool growing conditions with foggy mornings and ample warm sunshine contribute to the complexity of the fruit and the incomparable finish.

What gives Passion its exciting variance in complexity and character is the fact that it grows in two adjoining vineyards, one north-facing and one south-facing. The South vineyard is characterized by Gold Ridge sandy loam and a gentle aspect to the afternoon sun while the North vineyard is characterized by Sebastopol sandy loam with pebble infused clay, rich in mineral content and a pronounced aspect to the afternoon sun.

With low yields, necessary for producing high quality fruit, rich, complex soils and good sun exposure this Pinot develops so much complexity and flavor it is never blended so Passion is always a single-varietal, single-vineyard Pinot Noir.

Passion ~ an intense emotion which compels action and one taste of this Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley compels you to taste more as it unfolds showing its layers of flavor.

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