We are huge new fans of Sante Arcangeli wines, a Santa Cruz Mountain specialist whose small lot Chards and Pinot Noir are flying under the radar! Owner John Benedetti’s, aka “Fermentation Facilitator”, 2014 Split Rail Pinot Noir is our candidate for Pinot Noir of the Year! Yes, even with all of our adoration for the 2014 Escarpment Kupe (NZ), the 2013 Cobb Diane’s Coastlands, and 2013 Sonnet Tondre’s Grapefield, honestly we love everything about Benedetti’s impeccably made wine ….. its gorgeous ruby clarity, profound and redolent complex aromas of rose petals and forest floor, round but firm mouth feel impressions, incredibly understated and restrained bright cherry/red raspberry and pomegranate fruit, overall pin point balance, and long lingering subtle finish as one should expected from this beauty. Not flamboyantly styled or over the top with ripeness! 13.7% alcohol.
If you are unfamiliar with the history of Pinot Noir in the Santa Cruz Mountain AVA, and why this mountain range with its unusual and diverse soils and elevations, and foggy, rugged coastline is so perfectly suited to produce great Pinot Noir, then take a few moments to read this little history lesson http://www.mounteden.com/story/
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.
No SO2 added at harvest. 95% destemmed. 3 day cold soak at 40ºF, 5% saignee after 22 hours on skins, then allowed to gradually warm and begin a native fermentation, which began on day five. One Macro 24 inoculated with RC212 at 20º brix, 3 Macro 48s inoculated with AMH at 21º brix. Clonal lots fermented and pressed separately. Heritage clones pressed direct to barrel, Pommard clones pressed to tank and settled before barrel-down. Weekly battonnage for 3 months. Native and cultured malolactic cultures added. Aged on lees in 30% new French oak. 7 of 9 barrels racked and blended in June, at which time 2 Pommard barrels were held back and used in the appellation blend, as a means of keeping the blend heritage-clone dominant. Bottled unfined and unfiltered July 21st, 2015. 13.7% alcohol.