2013 Matrix Pinot Noir
Santa Barbara County, CA
A joint effort of two vineyards to further the discussion of whole cluster fermentation. Years of empirical study has convinced me of the benefits of stem inclusion in the production of Pinot Noir. It has also convinced me as to the negative aspects. Consequently, when grapes are deemed good candidates for whole cluster fermentation, the ratio I find most appealing is 50/50. The selected, whole, unbroken clusters are placed in the bottom of the fermenter and are covered with equal part destemmed fruit. All the benefits – aromas, texture and structure are gained with less risk of harshness and volatile acidity.
The two lots in the Matrix are Drum Canyon (50% whole cluster) and Quinta Del Mar 115 (50% whole cluster). Proportions favor Drum Canyon to meet AVA requirements. This Pinot is a bit nervous, edgy but interesting and compelling.
Slightly darker red than SBC and Pence, the wine moves across the palate horizontally –picture an alluvial fan. It hits the hinterland of my palate. The nose evolves continuously and again decantation is encouraged. On the nose there are sweet pea flowers, cherry and raspberry notes on the palate with a taut finish. Admittedly, this wine walks a knife-edge by design.
“QDM” is 20-acre Pinot Noir vineyard planted in 2007 near the town of Nipomo in San Luis Obispo County. On a relatively flat site, this vineyard enjoys the moderating ocean influence. It is planted clones 115 and 777 of Pinot Noir. The soil is moderately heavy clay loam with good water-holding capacity.
Drum Canyon is a 56.5-acre vineyard located about two miles west of Pence Ranch along Highway 246 in the Santa Rita Hills. It is a well-drained sloping site with southeast exposition. Planted in 2003, the vineyard, owned by the Dierberg Family, contains 26 blocks of multiple clones and rootstocks of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The soil is loam with some sandy loam and clay. Row direction is north/south due to the topography.