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Donum Pinot Noir


Cattleya Donum Vineyard Pinot Noir – 2014


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 28th. 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 barrelled down for malolactic fermentation and aging. After 11 months in 50% new oak, the wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Critics’ tasting notes

The 2014 Pinot Noir Donum Vineyard is a gorgeously elegant, perfumed and floral Pinot Noir that sports a vibrant, translucent purple color as well as medium-bodied richness, a silky, lively texture, integrated acidity and terrific complexity in its violets, exotic spice, peppery herbs and black cherry/framboise aromas and flavors. From a cooler site that’s closer to the bay, in Sonoma County, it saw a small portion of whole clusters during fermentation and was aged in three French oak barrels. Drink this elegant and impeccably balanced Pinot Noir anytime over the coming decade or more.

94 points — Jeb Dunnuck, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

Roederer clone. 25% whole clusters. 5-day cold soak, fermented on the skins for 18 days, aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple hue in the glass. Nicely perfumed, with aromas of black cherry, blackberry, pomegranate and a deft touch of oak. Structured and somewhat bold, with earth-kissed flavors of black cherry and blackberry. The firm but polished tannins are nicely balanced by a laser beam of acidity propelling the finish. A classy wine that is built to age, and a proper salute to Carneros terroir.

93 Points Rusty Gaffney, PinotFile

The 2014 Pinot Noir Donum Vineyard is plump, juicy and forward, with lovely palate presence and terrific overall balance. Sweet red cherry, plum and spice notes meld together in a forward, juicy Pinot to drink now and over the next few years. The 25% whole clusters are nearly buried by the intensity of the fruit. Some of the up-front raciness tapers off on the finish as a more savory edge of iron, smoke, game and herbs become more prominent. The Donum is a highly appealing Pinot from Cattleya.

91 Points Antonio Galloni, Vinous

Enjoy now, but recommended from 2017 to 2026. 

2014 by the numbers

Alc: 14.2% vol.

pH: 3.7

TA: 6.6 g/l

Production: 60 x 9 L cases

Packaging: 6 x 750 ml wooden box