Amazing, Unbelievable, Mind-boggling and even “the best ever” were a few of the descriptions of the 2005 Pinot Noir harvest in Santa Barbara County. After a very small 2003 vintage and the surprisingly hot 2004 harvest, 2005 was welcome. The crop was balanced and the weather was perfect to slowly ripen Pinot Noir. All the grapes we hand harvested and fermented in open top tanks, and punched down twice a day by hand. All of these procedures are time consuming but necessary for making Pinot Noir with balance. The gentle extraction of hand punch downs yields rich, ripe tannins, which balance nicely with the fruit and oak.
After pressing and short settling of only the heavy lees the wine was aged for 18 months in 100% new Francois Frères French Oak barrels. We fined lightly using egg whites to remove some of the excessive tannin. We bottled without filtration.
All the Pinot Noir form 2005 was high quality, we didn’t want to blend away all the unique personality of the various vineyards. We made a couple of “once in a lifetime” blends. One of these was a selection from Sanford and Benedict Vineyard. This selections was named “Larmes de Grappe”, this translates as “tears of the cluster” we use his designation for the best Pinots made with whole cluster. We made only one other Larmes and that was from the epic 2001 vintage.
This is a special wine from a great vintage, which we rarely make. We enjoyed this again in December 2017. It is still youthful with many years aging to come.