2013 Evans Pinot Noir
If you are familiar with my 2012 Pinot Noir, this 2013 forms an intriguing comparison. Both years were similarly hot and dry in Anderson Valley. Yet, while the 2012 is dark and powerful with an earthy complexity, this 2013 is a little softer and more delicate. The ripe strawberries and violets that perfume this wine are accentuated by hints of white pepper on the nose, cinnamon and spice on the palate. For me, the palate and finish of this wine illustrate the complex spectrum of what we call "savory" in Pinot Noir – caramel, truffles, toasted chestnuts, bacon – and how savory complements the fruit flavors of Pinot Noir.
You may wonder why this 2013 Pinot Noir, which is from soil and grapes and weather so similar to the 2012, smell and taste differently to that wine? Here are some things to consider: first, in 2013 harvest came very early. The grapes for this 2013 were picked on September 11, while the 2012 Pinot Noir grapes were picked on Sep 29. Roughly eighteen days of extra time hanging on the vine at the end of the 2012 growing season resulted in higher sugars (which results in higher alcohol), and more ripe fruit in terms of deeper, darker hues and flavors. And second, that ripeness difference was then enhanced by the divergent paths that the fermentations followed. You may recall, I do not add yeast or manipulate the temperature of the wine as it ferments; I leave it to the indigenous (aka wild/native/feral) yeast. In 2012, the fermentation was fairly warm, whereas in 2013, it was quite cool. Cooler fermentations often produce wine that is lighter in color, and they can preserve more delicate aromatics and flavors. A final consideration is that the 2013 wine was made with a higher proportion of whole bunches of grapes. More whole bunches not only causes fermentation to slow down (and thus become a cooler fermentation, as described below), more whole bunches during fermentation can also lighten color (the stems essentially absorb some color).
Anyone who has read this far is truly dedicated to their wine. I congratulate you, and I hope you enjoy this limited production Pinot Noir. Drink now, or age for 5-7 more years.
Please note: this is a natural wine that has not been filtered, so it will develop sediment in the bottle. I highly recommend decanting it for maximum enjoyment.