2016 Pinot Noir Julia's Vineyard
A few miles east of Bien Nacido Vineyard is Cambria Winery owned by Kendall Jackson. Their best Pinot Noir block is named after the daughter of proprietor Jess Jackson, Julia. The generous folks at Cambria offered us about 5 tons of Pinot Noir from this section of vineyard. Now included in Cambria’s artisan program, Au Bon Climat joins wineries Foxen, Hitching Post and Byron as part of the Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir series.
The 2016 harvest started and finished early. We picked our section of Julia’s on August 30th, about three weeks earlier than normal. The grapes were beautiful and fully ripe. A thorough sorting was done in the vineyard with any questionable bunches left behind. All the remaining fruit was destemmed and fermented in an open top fermenter.
After completing primary fermentation, the wine was pressed into 25% new Francois Freres french oak barrels and aged for over one year. This extended time in barrel gave this Pinot Noir a chance to “come together”. Tasting this wine with a year of bottle age shows a wine with bright, deep fruit notes (lots of strawberry), but this is not a simple wine or a “one note“ wine. The delicious strawberry blends nicely with intense flavors of anise, clove and dried cranberry. The new oak component is obvious with notes of caramel. This wine is lovely now and should age another 8 to 10 years. Our favorite food match with this wine is grilled salmon brushed with a mild horse radish sauce topped with a mix of peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms and bacon. This is full of flavor, but the wine matches perfectly.