2021 Split Rail Pinot Noir

The vineyard sits at 1700’ elevation on an old lake bed, looking down at the Monterey Bay over Eureka Canyon in Corralitos.  Being only 5 miles away from the Pacific Ocean, the maritime cooling influence, aka fog, creeps up Eureka Canyon and nestles in just below the vineyard, making it appear as if you are standing on an island in the sun, with the ability to step off the island and swim in the fog.  Soils are grey sandstone and clay primarily, with marble or limestone deep down.  30 year-old vines, dry-farmed, mostly heritage clones from what is known as “David Bruce Selection” or “Wente Select”.  These are one of the last remaining plantings of the original field selections that Paul Masson brought from Burgundy in the 1890s- some of the first pinot noir ever grown in the United States.

Winemaker Notes
Pinot from this vineyard is known for its vibrant, floral aroma and delicate color that belies a vivid structure on the palate.  The 2021 vintage is reminiscent of the reserve Clone 32 bottling we made back in 2013 because this year Clone 32 takes centerstage in the blend, supported by a background of fruit-driven Pommard.  The initial aromatics are slightly shy, but once the band starts playing she starts shaking her booty and opens up delicately with wafts of double delight rose and Roobios tea, plus elements of orange zest and wild strawberries with cream. The palate is soft and delicate, with a long and velvet-textured finish.  Fruit on the palate is strawberry and cranberry with nice acidity on the back palate.

This vintage is a bit more fruit-driven and less earthy than some of the past vintages, a lot like 2018, because of a long, temperate growing season. 2018 and 2021 were the two best vintages I've had the pleasure of working with as a winemaker, and this bottling is -- in my opinion-- a keeper for your cellar that should age well for 7-10+ years.  She's fresh and fruity right now, and should concentrate and reveal more with time. Try a bottle now with a mild Brie or salmon tartare, and then age the other bottle for awhile to enjoy later with something that has truffles in it!  Use caution with food pairings, as she's not a powerhouse pinot!

Geek Stuff

  • Hand harvested at 22.8 - 23.5º brix.  pH 3.59.
  • 2 day open air cold soak (no dry ice), then fermented in 1.5 ton macrobins at temps below 80º, with 12 days total cuvaison;
  • Aged 11 months sur lie in French oak, 25% new;
  • Coopers: Billon, TN Coopers, Montgillard, Ermitage from the forests of Jura, Bertrange, Alliers, Nevers, Troncais and Fontainbleau;
  • Clones: 32 and Pommard;
  • Yeasts: Native, AMH, BRG.
  • Production:  200 cases.

93/Wine Enthusiast.
Pending/Wine Advocate

In Stock
Add To Cart
/ 750ml
SKU: 2021-PN-SR
Wine Specs
Santa Cruz Mountains
Alcohol %
Wine & Spirits