2012 Charlatan Pinot Noir
List Member Price: $65.00
Non Member: $79.00
Vineyard: Charlatan is the very finest Pinot Noir we make. In 2012, it represented less than five percent of our total production, and was crafted as a selection of our best barrels of Pinot Noir. In fact, only three barrels were ultimately selected for the 2012 Charlatan, and just 69 cases were bottled. The fruit came exclusively from the Martinelli family’s renowned Ceremonial Vineyard. Not only does this vineyard benefit from a perfect location in the heart of the Russian River Valley appellation, the vines receive incomparable love and care from the Martinelli team—including a huge amount of handwork and incredible attention to detail. As a result, this wine—which is a combination of clones 115 and 777—shows outstanding richness, complexity and depth.
Vintage: After the challenging year experienced by growers in 2008, 2009, the 2010, and 2012 vintage provided almost ideal growing conditions for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the Russian River Valley. The late winter and spring seasons were dry, with warmer than average temperatures, allowing flowering to occur without event and providing good crop set. The growing season was cool and even, with very few heat spikes allowing for extended hang time and flavor development. A very warm end to August pushed the fruit to optimum ripeness and produced Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with intense aromatics, rich flavors, bright acidity and excellent balance.
Winemaking: The fruit was picked in the cool early morning under our supervision, with grapes sorted by hand both in the vineyard and again at the winery. A small portion of the grapes went into the fermentor as whole clusters, with the majority being gently destemmed. The fruit was cooled to 50º and was cold-soaked for five days, before it was allowed to gently warm and was inoculated with a yeast strain from Williams Selyem. Fermentation took seven days, with punch-downs performed by hand every six hours. At the completion of fermentation, the free-run wine was drained to barrel and the must was gently pressed. The wine completed its malolactic fermentation in barrel, with one racking during the blending process. This special three-barrel selection was aged in our favorite François Frères barrels, one new, and the other a year old. It was bottled without fining or filtration.
Winemaker Notes: This wine begins with a beautifully complex and intriguing nose full of sweet red fruit, candied cherry and violet aromas. In the mouth, it reveals further complexity, and though it is still dominated by rich red fruit flavors, layers of sassafras, Asian spice, cocoa powder and brioche add further nuance. The midpalate is mouthfilling and expansive, and the finish is exceptionally long.
Variety: Pinot Noir (100%)
Clones/Selections: 115 & 777
Harvest Dates: September 12th, 2012
Barrel-aging: 18 months in 60-gallon French oak barrels (60% new)
- pH: 3.59
- TA: 6.2 grams / liter
- Alcohol: 14.5% by volume
Bottling Date: May 18th, 2014
Cases Produced: 69