During the entire 2000 growing season I had a challenging, invigorating aspiration: could I take painstaking care of the young vines in our own Meredith Estate vineyard and harvest luscious grapes worthy of a vineyard designate wine? Five Pinot Noir clones grow in this vineyard. Two are California classics: a field selection of Swan and UCD37 (a product of budwood I selected 27 years ago at Mount Eden Vineyard). In addition, there are three promising Dijon clones from Burgundy.
After dropping half of the clusters early in the season, thus developing intensity in the remaining fruit, we harvested then fermented the California and French clones as two separate lots. From this first harvest, the grapes from the Swan selection and the Mount Eden clone were particularly appealing and full-flavored, deserving of Méthode à l’Ancienne, a gentle process of cold soaking the grapes and whole-cluster fermentation in open-top tanks. The wine then aged for ten months in French oak, primarily Mercurey barrels that lifted and enhanced the pure, intense fruit.
Our intensive handwork rewarded us, and I was able to select ten special barrels for Meredith Estate’s inaugural bottling. The wine’s aromas – dark fruit, toast and licorice – are succulent and mouth-watering. Sweet oak harmonizes with enchanting, wild blackberry fruit, both gracefully melding into the wine’s lingering, round finish. This is my most limited and personally rewarding release to date – two hundred precious, delicious cases!