Ziata Pinot Noir 2017
12 months (35% new oak, 65% neutral French oak)
87 Points - Jeb Dunnuck
Green Valley is bounded by the towns of Sebastopol, Forestville and Occidental. Tightly delineated geographically and climatically, it is the most consistent North Coast appellation in terms of soil, climate and flavor profile. Two factors in particular make it ideal for Pinot Noir. 1) The predominant soil type is Goldridge, which with its excellent drainage and low fertility, curtails the vine’s vigor. This results in fewer clusters but of better quality. 2) Its elevation and cool coastal climate mean a smaller swing between day and night temperatures, and overall cooler daytime temperatures during the growing season.
The growing season came early, but progressed evenly, with sugar and phenolic development in sync. A few heat spells mid-summer pushed ripening along, which was then was slowed briefly by cool, foggy weather in August. The moderate weather throughout allowed for a perfect amount of hang time for the fruit, which boosted flavors and deepened the color.
After a cold soak, the fruit underwent fermentation in stainless steel open-top tanks, with punchdowns and pumpovers. Approximately 5-10% of the wine underwent whole-cluster fermentation. Total skin contact time was 18-20 days.