(96 Points) Erin Brooks, Wine Advocate, June 2023 The 2021 Pinot Noir Golden Mean is glossy and expressive this vintage. It comes from Pommard and Swan selection vines planted on east- and west-facing slopes, respectively. It begins with ringing tones of truffle, moss, allspice, cranberry and red cherry aromatics. The light-bodied palate is velvety and refreshing with a surprisingly concentrated core of perfumed fruit, and it has an expansive finish streaked with nuances of spice and earth.
Tasting Notes Golden Mean is a mathematical term for the beautiful middle between two opposites, and this wine is so named because it is a blend of two distinctive clonal selections, Swan and Pommard. The Swan clone shines first with opening notes of delicate rose petals, strawberries, cranberries and a hint of violets, followed by more robust Pommard aromas of brambly blackberries fresh off the vine, with hints of iron and blood orange. The palate showcases an ethereal entry from the Swan and ends with the sublime texture of Pommard, but it’s impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins. This wine isn’t just a beautiful middle – it’s more than the sum of its parts.
Winemaking Notes Each block was picked by hand at night, and firm, cool clusters were delivered to the winery before sunrise. We hand-sorted and destemmed the fruit before transferring it into stainless steel tanks for five to ten days of cold maceration. Fermentation was guided by native yeast, and hand punch downs were tailored to how each tank tasted each day. The free run wine aged in French oak barrels, 43% new, for 15 months.
Vintage Notes 2021 was a dry, warm, even vintage, giving us wines with great intensity and harmony. Though we experienced record-low rainfall of 20 inches, a long way from our 65-inch average, it was plenty to fill our pond and irrigate our vines throughout the season. Budbreak occurred on the early side due to an unusually dry, warm winter, and this early trend continued throughout the season. Spring and summer remained dry and warm, though temperatures never spiked. This consistency, along with bountiful sunlight, allowed for even ripening across the vineyard. It was a smooth growing season and an ideal harvest, with all fruit picked at just the right moment and coming into the winery in a steady stream. The wines are remarkably dense and complex, with lots of structure, energy and delicate aromatics.
Blocks 5, 20 Clones Pommard 4, Swan