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2016 Charlatan Pinot Noir

2016 Charlatan Pinot Noir

Retail: $99.00  |  List Member Price: $85.00


Charlatan is the very finest Pinot Noir we make. In 2016, it represented less than seven 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 2016 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 2016 vintage proved to be our fifth in a string of excellent growing seasons here in the Russian River Valley.  The winter season was again extremely dry and surprisingly warm.  In late February we experienced cooler temperatures and in March had a significant amount of rainfall, which slowed the vines vegetative growth.  The extended vegetative cycle, combined with a slightly slower maturation process, led us to harvest fruit a little later than in 2015.  A mild summer, with normal temperatures, allowed for extended hang time and full flavor development of the grapes.  There were a few heat spikes in July, after verasion, which promoted ripening.  August was relatively cool, which further extended hang time in the vineyard, followed by warming in early September leading up to harvest.  The resulting wines show dark color, polished finely integrated tannic structure, expressive earth-driven aromatics, intense cherry driven flavors, bright natural acidity, and rich complexity.  

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, the tannins polished & well integrated,and the finish is exceptionally long.

Technical Notes
Variety:  Pinot Noir (100%)
Clones/Selections:  115 & Pommard 5
Harvest Dates:  September 7th, 2016
Barrel-aging:  19 months in 60-gallon French oak barrels (50% new)
  - pH:  3.67
  - TA: 5.9 grams / liter
  - Alcohol:  14.2% by volume
Bottling Date:  April 24th, 2018
Cases Produced:  52

Limited Availability

  • 2018 Russian River Pinot Noir  -   Retail $53   -  List Member $42
  • 2017 Russian River Pinot Noir  -   Retail $53   -  List Member $42
  • 2018 Frei Road Chardonnay  -   Retail $53   -  List Member $42
  • 2017 Charlatan Pinot Noir  -   Retail $79   -  List Member $65
  • 2013 Charlatan Pinot Noir  -   Retail $79   -  List Member $65
  • 2012 Charlatan Pinot Noir  -   Retail $79   -  List Member $65




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