Our 2012 Pinot Noir from Mariah Vineyard is our first wine from Mendocino Ridge, a remote and higher elevation appellation that is sort of the wild west of Pinot Noir growing in Mendocino County.  While the area of the AVA is over 250,000 acres, the only suitable land for grape-growing is above 1,200 feet elevation and currently about 75 or so acres are currently planted to wine grapes.

In the 1970s, Dan Dooling and Vicki Tomola purchased land at 2,400 feet elevation above Point Arena and planted Zinfandel, Syrah and Petite Syrah, then later Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. The Pinot Noir block that we source from at Mariah comes from two different clones, Dijon 667 and Pommard, planted to Syrah rootstock (1103 Paulson) in a combination of Hugo and Josephine loams over a well drained Sandstone fractured Shale subsoil. The vines run east west with 10-foot rows and 7 foot vine spacing, with quadrilateral cordon training and is dry-farmed - a particularly beneficial trait during a challenging draught year.

In 2012, we brought in almost 2 tons of Pinot Noir from Mariah Vineyard on October 2. The wine went through a four-day cold soak and then native yeast fermentation until October 25, when free-run and pressed (1.0 bar) juice went into neutral and new (Remond) French oak barrels. The wine has hints of white pepper and earth on the nose and darker, wild berry fruits, all the makings of mountain fruit. On the palate, blackberry notes and fine tannins deliver a muscular but nuanced finish perfect for grilled lamb or flank steak.

Clones: 667 and Pommard
Harvest/Brix: October 2, 2012 at 25.5 Brix
Fruit: 100% whole berry (no stems)
Fermentation: Native yeast
Barrel aging: 16 months in French oak, 25% new (Remond)
Alcohol content: 14.2% by volume
Bottled: February, 2014
Production: 98 cases
Release date: October, 2014

Suggested Retail Price: $42/bottle (750ml)
Drink now through 2020