Pinot Noir, ‘SWK Vineyard’, Occidental [by Steve Kistler]
The SWK Vineyard is our coolest, most marginal vineyard site. Each year it struggles to set a good crop, and typically produces loose clusters with a high percentage of “hens and chicks.” These unusually small clusters have a high skin-to-juice ratio and typically produce one of our most intense and concentrated wines. The SWK Vineyard wine features sweet red berry aromas, and is the most intensely savory and mineral-driven wine we make.
During fermentation, the SWK Vineyard fruit receives our most gentle extraction. Punchdowns are kept to a minimum and are used only to distribute the heat of fermentation, not to extract. Recently we have begun fermenting the SWK fruit with more whole clusters and are pleased with the results. Besides the vivid red fruit aromas they produce, the whole clusters also seem to bring out more of the savory and soil-influenced qualities of this site.
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