Donum Pinot Noir — Vineyard Designate

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Cattleya Donum Vineyard Pinot Noir – 2015

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The vineyard

The Donum Estate is located in Carneros/Sonoma County, along the low-lying hills of the Mayacamas range as it descends beneath San Francisco Bay. Elevations of most vineyards range from 400 feet (120 m) in the foothills to near sea level closer to the Bay. The proximity to the fog and breezes makes the climate in Los Carneros cooler and more moderate than wine regions further north in Napa and Sonoma valleys, creating an ideal location to grow Pinot Noir.

Once part of the historic Buena Vista Carneros vineyard, the Donum Estate vineyards were first developed and planted in 1990 by Anne Moller-Racke—viticulturist and vineyard manager for Buena Vista at the time. In 2001 Anne was asked to spearhead the Donum project. She redeveloped the 45 acre vineyard estate by applying her knowledge of the site with the long time experience of farming in Carneros. Her passion for winegrowing, blended with her deep knowledge of Carneros Pinot Noir, were compelling reasons for me to approach her in 2012 to purchase fruit.

The winemaking process

The Roederer clone was harvested on September 25th. Fruit was de-stemmed at 75%, leaving 25% whole clusters. After five days of cold soaking, fermentation began and punch-downs were done daily throughout maceration. The wine fermented on the skins for 18 days, then was drained and barreled down for malolactic fermentation and aging. After 11 months in 50% new oak, the wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Critic’s tasting note

Coming from very old vines (37-year-old vines), the 2015 Pinot Noir Donum Vineyard offers lots of black cherry, framboise, dried violets and spice characteristics in its elegant, seamless, yet still voluptuous and layered profile. Perfumed and complex aromatically, it’s silky and refined on the palate, with present, yet polished tannin. This terrific 2015 has everything; complexity, volume, depth and length. Drink it anytime over the coming decade. 

95 points — Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com

Enjoy now, but recommended from 2017 to 2026. 

2015 by the numbers

Alc: 14.2% vol.

pH: 3.57

TA: 5.9 g/l

Production: 46 x 9 L cases

Packaging: 6 x 750 ml wooden box