To my delight, the legendary New York journalist Frank Prial "savored" my 1997 Olivet Lane Vineyard Pinot Noir, declaring the wine "considerably more attractive than wines twice its price, including many famous Burgundies." Mr. Prial also noted that Olivet Lane Vineyard "has provided grapes for great wines ... " Twenty-six years old and located on prime benchland in Russian River Valley, the vineyard is owned by the Pellegrinis, a family involved in the wine business for three generations. The grapes from Olivet Lane Vineyard produce velvety, rich wines. Even more than the 1997 bottling enjoyed by Mr. Prial, the 1998 vintage shows the power and depth of Olivet Lane fruit.
To capture the grapes' expansive character, I used labor intensive winemaking techniques, which I call Methode a I'Ancienne. I cold soaked the grapes, a high proportion of them whole clusters, in small, open-top tanks. During fermentation I punched down the cap of grape skins and whole berries by hand, twice daily. I aged the wine for ten months in new and one-year-old French oak barrels.
Aromas of Bing cherries, sweet violets, ripe plums, lavender and spice reveal this Pinot Noir's sultry power and deep, pure flavors. The wine unfolds on the palate in sumptuous layers, the bright flavors lingering through an extensive finish.