Two Creeks Pinot Noir is a blend of grapes from our Annahala and Apple Barn estate vineyards in Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley, a cool coastal appellation renowned for its superb pinots. The region’s close proximity to the Pacific Ocean has a dramatic cooling effect that promotes slow, even ripening. Annahala and Apple Barn share this marine-influenced climate and an overlapping mix of nine superior pinot noir clones, six of which were used for the 2016 vintage. Closer to the coast and sheltered by trees, Annahala is the cooler and foggier of the two sites, while Apple Barn is more exposed and enjoys warmer afternoons. Blending their fruit yields a beautifully aromatic, flavorful and balanced pinot noir.
2016 was the latest in a string of fine vintages in Anderson Valley. Mild winter weather fostered early budbreak, flowering and grape set while ongoing drought conditions coupled with a notably light crop led to an early harvest of small-berried grapes boasting intense varietal flavors.
We hand-harvested our Anderson Valley pinot noir grapes at night to preserve their freshness and varietal intensity, keeping the fruit from a half-dozen distinctive blocks of vines separate. The individual lots were cold-soaked for early extraction of color and flavor, then fermented in small, open-top tanks. Native yeast from the vineyards initiated fermentation, which proceeded slowly until the fermenting wine was inoculated with a cultured yeast strain. Gentle punch downs assisted in the extraction of each lot’s aromas and flavors. Once fermentation completed, the free run juice from each lot was drained from the skins and transferred to French oak barrels, 37% of which were new, where they aged for three months before blending the lots together. The blended wine was then aged another seven months in barrel prior to bottling.