Our Deer Camp Pinot Noir is a vineyard designated wine from the Etude Estate Vineyards at Grace Benoist Ranch. This multi-vineyard ranch is tucked away in the far northwest corner of the Carneros appellation and features well-drained, rocky upland soils.
Source: Deer Camp Vineyard, Estate Grown at Grace Benoist Ranch, Carneros, Napa Valley
Certified Sustainable: Napa Green Winery, California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, Vineyard
Varietal Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
Harvest Dates: August 17 – September 7, 2016
Vinification: Aged 14 months in French oak barrels (25% new)
Clones: Dijon 113, Dijon 114, Martini selection
pH: 3.6, TA: 0.56gms/100ml, ABV: 14.3%
Cases produced: 479
“Sourced from the Etude estate vineyard Grace Benoist Ranch and aged for 14 months in 25% new French oak, the 2016 Pinot Noir Deer Camp Vineyard has a medium ruby-purple color and gives up tons of floral and herbs notes of lilacs rose hip tea and wild thyme over a core of kirsch, cranberry pie and boysenberry with a waft of crushed rocks. Medium-bodied, the palate is generous and beautifully plush with tons of layers and great persistence.” - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, October 2018
Deer Camp offers a unique expression of Pinot Noir from the Grace Benoist Ranch. Savory aromas of herbs and earth are joined by dark fruit aromas and flavors, notably plum, cranberry cassis and boysenberry. A lively solid acid backbone is framed with evident tannin in a balanced, well structured wine with a robust closing note and lingering finish.
The Deer Camp Vineyard at Grace Benoist Ranch is located on a southwest facing slope of two blocks we refer to as the Pinot Bowl. Featuring distinctive rocky, well-drained soils of Kidd Stony Loam, the site is planted mostly to the Martini clone of Pinot Noir, which produces thick-skinned, pulpy grapes that hold up well to the fog and wind that blow through this cool climate vineyard. This small vineyard was named after an old deer camp structure that stands at the base of this site.
The extended drought was beginning to cause concern as the 2016 growing season began, but welcomed
winter rain hinted at the relief to come. After a relatively dry January we enjoyed significant rainfall in
February, along with mild temperatures. Bud break was early, but was slowed by heavy April showers.
While still early by historical standards, picking began about a week later than 2015, around Labor
Day, and continued at a modest pace, allowing the grapes to reach full flavor maturity. A traditionally
sized harvest followed the lighter vintage of 2015, and the extended mild season helped balance the
acids and add complexity to the flavor layers. Considered a perfect harvest and a winemaker’s dream
vintage, conditions produced a Pinot Noir with beautiful fruit and aromatic integrity.
The grapes for this wine were harvested at night to preserve freshness and integrity. They were placed in open-top fermenters for 3-5 days of cold maceration followed by fermentation. A small percentage of the grapes were left as whole cluster to preserve the buoyancy of aromatics of the fruit and to add structure and refinement to the wine. Punch downs were performed during the early stages of fermentation with the extraction becoming gentler as the wine became dry, and followed with a quiet extended maceration to help modify the richness and mouthfeel of the wine. The wine was lightly pressed into small French oak barrels where it rested for 13 months.