El Niño brought some good rain in the winter of 2015, but February was pretty dry. Then it warmed up a touch and the vines woke up, a bit later than the previous few years. Showers soaked the vineyards in the middle of March, filling the ground with much needed water. Beautiful warm summer days led to veraison and sugar accumulation in the berries. Mid-August through mid-September was filled with overcast days and cooler weather, prolonging our starting pick date. The Clone 23 Pinot Noir, which was isolated in Switzerland and is also known as the Mariafeld clone, was the last block picked at our Janes Vineyard on September 10. The clusters and berries tend to be larger than the Dijon clones, so the fruit usually has a little longer hang time in the vineyard, as it ripens a little later.
Different clones of Pinot Noir from our Janes Vineyard were fermented and aged separately until the spring, when we tasted everything and chose a small lot of the Clone 23 to bottle by itself. The Clone 23 shows dark fruit characteristics along with earthy minerality, exceptional balance and a nice firm tannic structure. Winemaking with a light hand, and timely and deliberate choices, allow us to craft the wine in a style that compliments what the vineyard and vintage give us. We ferment our wines with native yeasts, which come in on the grapes from the vineyard. The native yeasts eventually give way to other yeasts that finish the fermentation, and give the wine extra complexity. The 2016 Clone 23 Pinot Noir was aged in a mix of 1-year-old and 3-year-old French and Hungarian oak, from a small set of top coopers.
Davis Bynum is distinguished as the fi rst winery to produce a single vineyard Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. The vintage was 1973 and the grapes were from Joe Rochiolis now prized vineyard. Today, our heritage of winemaking lives on through hand-crafted single vineyard wines grown exclusively in Russian River Valley.
The vines at Jane’s Vineyard generally show moderate vigor caused mainly by well drained, nutrient poor soils, true to the gravelly nature of Huichica loam. The soil is shallow, with a hardpan at a low depth, which led us to plant on 101-14 rootstock with its shallower rooting angle to match the soil profile. The vines get water stressed because of the drainage and lack of root depth, so we watch them closely during the warmer months, as Pinot will not tolerate too much dryness. The vine rows are northsouth, providing morning and late a ernoon sun exposure to ripen the fruit.