At WALT we are committed to locating the finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyard sources on the Pacific Coast, and make compelling, delicious wines that are honest expressions of their vineyard sites. Learn about our approach to farming Pinot Noir.
Pinot noir is an early ripening, thin skinned, delicate varietal. Excessive heat causes sugar in the fruit to accumulate too quickly and inhibits the maturity of flavors and tannins. The ideal conditions for premium pinot noir can be found in cool climate regions. Growing pinot in cool pacific influenced areas allows for a dramatic cooling effect and mitigated day-time high temperatures.
Growing Pinot in cooler regions allows for long, steady ripening and complete evolution of tannins – creating supple and silky texture as well as optimal flavor retention. Cooler weather also helps the fruit retain acidity, freshness and elegance.
Low Yields / Low Vigor Vines and Ripeness
We look for well-balanced vines on gentle slopes in limiting soils with excellent drainage. This creates wines with great concentration of flavor and texture. In order to make great Pinot – you want a small vine with a small amount of fruit. Too much vigor creates diluted flavor with green flavors.
Pinot needs to be silky, supple and opulent. This is derived from ripe tannins. Flavor ripeness promotes long and slow ripening to gain elegance and richness of flavor. We get all of this through long hang time.
Clones are important and allow us to fine-tune certain elements in the vine. They can add a special element to final blends. We use a number of clones, including Pommard, Dijon, Robert Young Clone, Old Wente and others. The key for us is starting with an extraordinary vineyard site and excellent farming practices – then being able to pick and choose clones from within those sites helps us fine-tune the wines.
Harvesting the Grapes
We employ night-time or early morning harvesting when the fruit is cool and firm. This is important because, if the berries are too soft, you can get rough tannins. We employ hand harvesting and selective harvesting – avoiding any unripe or damaged fruit. This ensures that only the best, cleanest fruit is brought back to the winery. The fruit is cool when it arrives to the winery which allows for perfect handling and destemming.
Vineyard Personality and Expression
Each vineyard has a personality and soul. There are an endless number of factors that influence a wine’s character – soil, aspect, draining and fog pattern are just a few of the unique drivers of vineyard epxression.
We are thrilled to be able to showcase different growing regions and appellations from vineyards all along the Pacific coast – each has a wonderfully unique personality and stories to tell. In order to allow the vineyards to express themselves as strongly as possible, we need to do all the right things in the vineyards. That includes farming sustainably, native fermentation, native malolactic fermentation, not fining or filtering our wines and more. All of these allow us to preserve the purest vineyard expression.