About This Wine:
This wine truly delivers the exceptional richness and finesse characteristic of Clos Pepe Pinot Noir. The nose features a distinguishing touch of minerality with underlying fruit components of wild blackberry and dark cherry. The flavors, including black raspberry, dark berry and spice, are supported by a rich creaminess, which culminates in a long, elegant finish. The wine is beautifully put together with an ideal balance of minerality, fruit and complexity. These components will continue to harmonize with additional cellaring, enhancing the depth, complexity and longevity of this classic Pinot Noir.
100% Clos Pepe Vineyard (Sta. Rita Hills). This family-run estate is a small jewel in the highly regarded Santa Rita Hills appellation with only 28 acres of vines (24 of which are planted to Pinot Noir). The vineyard is farmed with meticulous attention to detail, year-round hand labor and sustainable agriculture methods. The soils are low-vigor, sandy loam and are rich in calcareous shale. The block sourced for Ken Brown Pinot Noir is planted to the Pommard clone.
2010 was a vintage of extremes with unusual, yet well-timed weather events. The growing season was off to a slow start with an exceptionally cool spring and summer. Early October brought several days of record-breaking heat, which helped the grapes reach full maturity. Yields in this long, cool vintage were particularly low at the Clos Pepe Vineyard with only 2.5 tons per acre. More importantly, berry size was extremely small with excellent skin to juice ratio, resulting in an opulent, beautifully extracted wine. The south slope of our block was harvested on October 4, while grapes from the north slope were picked on October 9.
Pinot Noir clusters from the Clos Pepe Vineyard were hand sorted before being de-stemmed and immediately chilled for a pre-fermentation cold soak where the most beneficial extraction of color, aroma and flavor occurs. During fermentation, concentration was enhanced by gently punching down the cap. As soon as the wine reached dryness, it was pressed and transferred to 60-gallon French oak barrels where it aged for 18 months. About 43% of the barrels were new French oak. The wine was bottled on May 16, 2012.