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  • Writer's pictureElkhorn Peak Cellars

2017 Elkhorn Peak Pinot Noir

Elkhorn Peak Cellars makes limited production, ultra-premium wine from estate grown Pinot Noir. The characteristics and flavors in our wine are unique and expressive of our South Napa location. Annual production is just a few hundred cases of wine.

“For almost 40 years I’ve been completely immersed in growing grapes in this terrior, I live on this land as well as farm it. Our 10-acre vineyard sits high atop Jamieson Canyon, Napa Valley's sweet spot for Pinot Noir. Jamieson Canyon is considered one of the best regions in the Napa Valley to grow Pinot Noir grapes. The area is heavily planted today, but we planted the first vines here back in 1983.” -Ken Nerlove Grower/Owner

Elkhorn Peak Estate Grown Pinot Noir on vine, Sept 2017.
Elkhorn Peak Estate Grown Pinot Noir on vine, Sept 2017.

VINTAGE NOTES: Winter rain and cold weather marked the beginning of the 2017 growing season; we received heavy rain February through April. Napa Valley received so much rain in the winter of 2017 that valley floor vineyards looked like ponds, with vines sitting in several feet of water; we even got some snow on Mt. St. Helena – very unusual! Ultimately, the wet weather we received at the beginning of 2017 would officially end the five-year drought in California (2011 - 2016). We had a normal, dry spring. Bud break came in mid-March, right on time. Then came the heat. We had 10 days of 100+ degree weather in June; Napa can get hot, but we don’t usually see triple digits until August. Verasion hit in mid-July. We had another wave of heat in August, temperatures hit 110 degrees in south Napa (and 115 degrees in north Napa) - and stayed there. The heatwave continued through the beginning of September, which accelerated ripening and lead us to harvest about a week early on September 6th. Crop yield was 20 tons, which is above average yield, a product of the early season rains.

TASTING NOTES: Aromas of ripe plum, raspberries and a hint of pomegranate tart on the nose. The palate is earthy, with black cherry, and ripe strawberry. Beautiful spice and vanilla oak round out this the palate to a delicious lingering richness. Well balanced with a silky finish.

FOOD PAIRINGS: The earthiness and red fruit in this wine pair brilliantly with blue cheese – an unusual pairing, but we promise it’s worth a try! Also serve with main dishes such as eggplant parmesan, mushroom risotto, roasted duck, lamb, and chicken. Very tasty with milk chocolate, and blue fruit-based desserts (blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, cherries).

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