Yesterday, I did a blending trial for the 2008 Lionheart Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir to get ready for the secondary blending to be done. I am hoping to bottle the Pinot Noir in the next two weeks — it will not be ready for Thanksgiving unfortunately.
I did 12 blending trials with various combinations of barrels and pinot noir single clone blending wines from the two vineyards I get Pinot Noir from — Bohemian (Freestone / Russian River) and Split Rock/Gaps Crown (Sonoma Coast). Behemian is right next to the Sonoma Coast border so I just call it a Sonoma Coast AVA blend. The style of the wine is more appropriate for a Sonoma Coast than a Russian River Pinot Noir.
The blend that I really liked is made up of equal parts from each barrel (90% of total volume), 8% 777 clone from Split Rock vineyard, and 2% 667 from Split Rock vineyard. The blending session was very interesting for the following reasons: 1) the use of a single clone wine can have a massive change on the overall quality, balance and flavor profile; for example: a 1% shift of the 667 clone was very noticable, 2) 777 clone adds a great deal of body, red fruit flavors and helps extend the finish of the wine quite a bit, 3) aromatics of 667 are very good and are huge contributors to a complex Pinot Noir’s aromatic profile, 4) Pinot Noir is very sensative to chemistry shifts in the wine — aromatics and flavors shift very quickly with a slight acidity and pH adjustment, and 5) lower alcohol Pinot Noir has a much complex flavor and palate profile.
The tasting notes for the 2008 Lionheart Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, blend are:
Appearance: bright, deep+ ruby with violet core transitioning to ruby rim
Nose: clean, medium+ intensity aromas of black fruit (cherry, blackberry), blue fruit (blue berry and hint of boysenberry), hint of cotton candy, light cola, warm spices, red fruit (strawberry, cherry, raspberry) and oak
Palate: high acidity; medium tannins (soft, fine-grained but will need time in bottle to turn to velvety texture), medium alcohol, medium+ concentration, pronounced intensity flavors of blueberry, currant (red and black), cranberry, strawberry, violets, raspberry, black fruit(cherry and blackberry), warm spices on finish; long finish
The 2008 Pinot Noir will be going on sale as futures in the next week or so. The actual release of the wine will not happen until spring of next year. But, I might have some samples available at Thanksgiving dinner!