100% Rancho La Cuna Vineyard
Santa Barbara County, California
This cuvee is 100% Pinot Noir from Jim’s own Rancho La Cuna Vineyard (RLC) located in Los Alamos, 10 miles southwest of his winery. This is the third Pinot Noir vineyard planted by Jim Clendenen. Jim Clendenen’s “Rancho La Cuna” is a 12-acre vineyard located in the beautiful Los Alamos Valley in Santa Barbara County CA. The Pinot Noir was planted in 3 stages, the first of which was planted in 2009. It is planted to Dijon Clones: 115 and 828, and a special (secret) experimental clone given expressly to Jim by the legendary Pepinieres Guillaume vine growers from Burgundy (Founded in 1895). At present, Jim is the only producer in the US with this clone. The “Rancho La Cuna Vineyard” slopes from 50 to 500 feet and the slope is South Facing. The vines here are all planted in a North/South orientation to maximize the cooling effects of the evening breeze blowing in off the Pacific.
As with all of Jim Clendenen’s Pinot Noirs the fruit is hand-picked, and processed soon after harvest. The grapes arrive at the winery cool, are processed cool, and slowly fermented. The fermenters are manually punched down at least two times per day. We prefer manual punch downs to gently extract all the good stuff from the grapes. After fermentation, the wine are aged in 100% new Francois Frères French oak barrels for 24 months, then bottled without filtration. This wine has a few years of bottle age, and it should continue to age gracefully for an additional 10.
93 points – Antonio Galloni’s Vinous Media
92 points – Wine Spectator