Our North Coast bottling utilizes all the vineyard sites Greg La Follette has worked with over the last two decades. This includes fruit from Manchester Ridge in the Mendocino Ridge, Oppenlander Vineyard in Comptche, Mes Filles Vineyard and Hawks Roost in Russian River Valley and van der kamp Vineyard on Sonoma Mountain.
The 2018 vintage saw a wet spring after a fairly dry winter, leading to vigorous growth in the summer. After a brief heat spell in early September, harvest was conducted from the 2nd week of September, trouble-free, into late October (Manchester Ridge) after one rain event and sorting the fruit to reduce Botrytis-affected clusters.
Fermentation and Ageing
Done entirely with wild 1o and 2o indigenous/ambient yeast and ML, most fermentations were trouble-free with the exception of the Hawks Roost malolactic, which took 7 months. All ferments were pressed slightly before 1o fermentation finished and were sent to the barrel without settling off of the fermentation lees. Partial whole-clusters were hand pressed. The wine was aged on the yeast lees for 24 months in one-third new French oak barrels, with many of the coopers being small artisanal family-operated Burgundian tonnelleries. The length of time on the lees is unusual for California Pinot Noirs and allowed for complete yeast autolysis, which enriched the wine and added depth and creaminess, similar to what a sparkling wine producer would look for with extended en tirage. This is an exceptional treatment for such a wine, relying on the strength of the vineyards to carry the extensive barrel time to a successful completion. Students of Pinot Noir winemaking techniques will find this treatment both fascinating and worthy of comparison with other Pinots of any price range.
Pinot Noir is the one varietal that should be able to have weight yet defy gravity at the same time. The 2018 GLF North Coast Pinot Noir is a reference point for these attributes, filling one’s mouth and luxuriously caressing the tongue while at the same time having sufficient backbone to carry a long and lingering finish. Aromas are cola, bright red and dark fruit and a hint of sandalwood that is echoed on the palate.