2017 Charlatan Pinot Noir
List Member Price: $65.00
Non Member: $79.00
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Charlatan is the very finest Pinot Noir we make. In 2017, it represented less than nine percent of our total production, and was crafted as a selection of our best barrels of Pinot Noir. In fact, only two barrels were ultimately selected for the 2017 Charlatan, and just 52 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 Pommard 5—shows outstanding richness, complexity and depth.
The 2017 vintage proved to be our sixth in a string of excellent growing seasons here in the Russian River Valley. The winter season provided relief from the extended drought in northern California, with precipitation almost double the historic average. Rains, mixed with breaks of warm, sunny weather continued into the spring as we moved through bud break and rapid vegetative growth. By May, the weather was beautiful and perfect for flowering, resulting in excellent fruit set. The summer was heat and we experienced a number of heat spikes. Fortunately, with adequate ground water present in the soil profile, the vines responded well and dehydration was minimal. An intense heat wave over the Labor Day weekend pushed fruit to ripeness. The resulting wines show aromatic complexity, refined tannic structure, expressive earth-driven aromatics, classic cherry-cola flavors, and bright acidity.
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 then 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 two-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.
This wine begins with a subtle and beautifully complex nose full of sweet red fruit, cherry & alpine strawberries with hints of rose petal. In the mouth, it reveals further complexity, and though it is still dominated by dark cherry fruit, layers of sassafras, dried herbs, cocoa powder and toast add further nuance. The midpalate is mouthfilling and expansive, the tannins polished & well integrated, with a long, satisfying finish.
Variety: Pinot Noir (100%)
Clones/Selections: 115 & Pommard 5
Harvest Dates: September 6th, 2017
Barrel-aging: 17 months in 60-gallon French oak barrels (50% new)
- pH: 3.67
- TA: 6.2 grams / liter
- Alcohol: 14.2% by volume
Bottling Date: April 5th, 2019
Cases Produced: 52