Sta. Rita Hills


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Talk about low yields! We harvested only slightly more than two tons from three acres of pinot noir at Clos Pepe Vineyard in 2008 because the spring frost fried the tender shoots. The secondary buds then popped out, but they typically produce fewer clusters, and on those, there were many tiny shot berries (berries with no seeds), making it very difficult to decide when to pick. Harvested too soon, and the larger berries would not be ripe, but a day too late, and all the shot berries would have turned into raisins. I felt we picked at the right moment, though the fruit still required a particularly severe sorting. Still, I had my doubts about the wine, but as soon as it was pressed to barrel it was apparent we had something special—what a delightful surprise! This rich, savory wine drinks well today, but has all the stuffing necessary for the long run

Blend: 100% Pinot Noir | Alcohol: 14.0% | Vinification: 30% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 14 Months | Total Production: 140 cases

Press Reviews

Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar

“Deep red. The densest and darkest in character of this set of pinots, offering ripe dark berry and cherry aromas and flavors and a hint of licorice. Becomes brighter with air, picking up peppery spice qualities and a touch of rose pastille. A bit of a tough read but there’s clearly excellent material here.” – JR 91 Points

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

“The 2008 Pinot Noir Clos Pepe comes across as quite deep and rich in style. Dark red cherries, black pepper, sweet herbs and spices are some of the notes that flow from this intense Pinot. The spring frost lowered yields dramatically at Clos Pepe to less than one ton per hectare.” – AG 91 Points


“A restrained, elegant and admirably pure nose features notes of violets and cassis that introduce very rich, generous and full-bodied flavors that possess a lush, even opulent mouth feel and a velvety, balanced and beautifully lingering finish. Lovely juice.” 90 Points