The 2015 growing season’s very small grapes and clusters gave our 2015 Carneros Pinot Noir
its highly saturated color and complex, darker-fruit expression. Aromas of ripe, black cherry
and brambleberry reveal hints of sun-warmed rose, forest loam and a savory umami
herbaceousness. High-toned notes of sweet baking spices, from French oak barrels, weave
through the aromas and linger on the berry-imbued finish. Supple, fine-grained tannins
structure the wine, while natural acidity gives it elegant balance and vibrancy, all backed by a
classic Carneros earthiness.
We sourced the Pinot Noir grapes from our Beaulieu Vineyard Ranches No. 9, 8 and 5 in
the Los Carneros American Viticultural Area (AVA). Here, at the southernmost tip of Napa
Valley near the San Francisco Bay, the cool, marine fog in the morning and winds in the
afternoon foster vibrantly fruity Pinot Noir. The vines of our estate vineyards are rooted in
Haire and Diablo clay loam soils; they are grafted to a blend of Dijon clones for tiers of
flavors, with a Pommard clone for structure.
Although Napa Valley received 75 percent of its normal rainfall in 2015, the cumulative
effect of four years of drought—plus a cold streak in May that caused uneven fruit
set—resulted in a very light crop. Winter was short, with warm soil temperatures beginning in
January and promoting early budbreak. The small clusters and dry, warm ripening conditions
resulted in one of the earliest harvests on record in Napa Valley. The condensed crushing of
all varieties kept us hopping, however we were rewarded by wines with deep color and
At night, under lights, all of the grapes were hand harvested into bins to preserve their freshness
and acidity. After being hand sorted, the grapes were gently destemmed and then cold soaked
for gentle color and flavor extraction, before being fermented in stainless-steel tanks and French
oak vats. Malolactic fermentation and aging in French oak barrels rounded the wine’s acidity
and married the fruit expression with toasty oak spice.