2010 Penny Lane Vineyard Sangiovese, Oakville, Napa Valley
ALLOCATION LIMIT: 0 Bottles
525 Cases Produced
Penny Lane Vineyard
The 2010 Penny Lane brings the dark fruit home again with this bottling. A playful wine, it begins with pure red fruit notes of strawberry jam, blackberry, dried fruits and hint of barrel vanillin. The mouthfeel is full in the front and it delivers broad flavor strokes through to the back palate. While somewhat muscular for a varietal known to typically be more feminine from California, this Sangiovese shows a very fine balance throughout. It is savory and fruit forward and supported by firm acidity with structure that will help it age and continue to improve for 5 to 7 years.
The Penny Lane Vineyard is located in Oakville at the heart of the Napa Valley. This is a unique vineyard site at just 3/4 acre small and entirely surrounded by Cabernet Sauvignon. The 21 year old vines continue to show that even fine Sangiovese can be grown in the land of Cabernet giants. Oakville has always been a Cabernet focused appellation and for any other varietal to remain in the ground it has to prove itself and be something special. Penny Lane Sangiovese has always held up to that standard. One way in which we achieve the full potential and complexity of the small acreage is by “dry-farming,” or demanding the vines grow without supplied water, for the entirety of the growing season.
Harvest took place late on October 20th, 2010. Yields were low in 2010 due to dehydration from hot summer temperature spikes. Even though there were temperature extremes, it was a considerably cooler year than normal and thus, the late harvest. We got the fruit off the vine just two days before the Napa Valley was given a deluge of rain on October 22nd. Three inches of water came in to make a wet mess of vineyards everywhere. We dodged that wicked bullet just in time and the Brix at harvest were a very pleasant 25.6 degrees. That is a near perfect number for sugar and ripe flavors were right in tow. Harvest was conducted in the early morning hours and then once destemmed, the whole berries were allowed to cold soak before undergoing native yeast fermentation.
A somewhat rare technique critical in the making of this wine is ripasso. Ripasso is an Italian term describing the use of the skins of one varietal during fermentation to lend its qualities to the juice of another. (Essentially it means trading out the skins of a lower intensity varietal, like Sangiovese, with that of a more power driven varietal like Charbonno in this example.) The old vine Charbono skins from Frediani lend incredible amounts of flavor and dark purple color to the wine that it would not have had otherwise. Via ripasso, we are able to give this wine the opportunity to marry from day one, resulting in a wine with much fuller body and ripe character. The wine was aged for 19 months in once used Francois Frères and Gamba tight grain French Oak barrels passed down from our Syrah programs. Indigenous malolactic fermentation was employed.