2018 Van der Kamp Pinot Meunier
Vineyard: The van der Kamp Vineyard lies at the very top of the eastern side of Sonoma Mountain, at a 1,400 foot elevation looking down on the town of Glen Ellen to the east and Bennett Valley to the northwest. Sonoma Mountain was once part of the Pacific Ocean floor, and thus has a patchwork of diverse soils, from Speckles loam, Volcanic Tuff and decomposed streambed. Sonoma Mountain itself has been inhabited for thousands of years, and van der Kamp has been farmed for well over one hundred. The Marin and Sonoma tribe, the Coast Miwok, believed that the top of the mountain was where life first began, as they thought the world was born from the ocean floor. The van der Kamp vineyard and surrounding areas were an important religious site, and still are to this day.
Van der Kamp was planted in 1953, making it the oldest Pinot Noir vines (still producing) in California. The 2.7 acre block of Pinot Meunier was planted in the early 1990s. We divide our rows between our still rosé, sparkling Pinot Meunier rosé (which is made in a Champagne method), and our still red - of which we make a miniscule amount.
Varietal: Pinot Meunier accounts for a third of the vines planted in the Champagne region, and serves the purpose of providing fruitiness and mouthfeel to the wines of that area. Since California doesn't have the same problem of struggling to attain ripeness, Pinot Meunier was not needed, thus there is very little of the grape found domestically.
Winemaking: The grapes are picked at night around 22.5 brix, and delivered to the winery just before sunrise. We broke the fermentation into two vessels - one was 100% whole cluster, while the other was entirely destemmed. The grapes were not sulfured, and thus fermentation occurred naturally with native yeast. We gently foot tread the tanks two to three times per day for two weeks. It was then pressed into barrel, and aged on the lees for 12 months in 10% new French oak, 90% neutral French oak before being bottled un-fined and unfiltered. We tend to use very little sulfur in our wines (only what is needed), so to preserve freshness we refrain from rackings other than just before bottling. It is therefore recommended that our wines are given a quick decant and a bit of air before enjoying!
Production : 180 cases