In the deep end of the Anderson Valley, at an elevation of 200 feet, lies the benchland Day Ranch, perched above the Navarro River. The clonal selections, 115 and 667, are well-laid out on the slope’s west-facing aspect to capture needed daylight hours and achieve maturity in this challenging climate. It is important to note this vineyard is Certified Fish Friendly and has four tributaries that feed into the Navarro River creating rich soils and a perfect microclimate.
The growing season was marked by very low precipitation, with smaller than average yields and cluster weights. The trade-off—concentration of fruit—was massive. Harvest took place on Sept. 7, 2020.
The grapes were harvested by hand, most destemmed and gently fed into an open top tank with 17% whole clusters. Native yeast fermentation began eight days later and was complete by Sept. 22. The free-run juice was drained directly into François Frères Allier barrels, 25% of which were new. Native malolactic fermentation was complete by early February. The wine was racked off fine lees directly to the bottling tank and bottled without fining or filtration.
The lasting impression of the 2020 Day Ranch Hollywood Hill Pinot is one of tremendous purity and elegance. It has an ethereal, perfumed nose of sweet raspberry and cherry, and an underlying root vegetable earthiness, perhaps owing to the small percentage of whole clusters. The tannins are sweet and ample acidity keeps it nervy, balanced, and penetrating—a real cool climate Pinot Noir. Pair it up with farfalle pasta tossed with spinach and toasted walnut pesto, dusted with aged parmesan. Cedar-plank-grilled salmon and a microgreen salad will be delicious as well.