92 Points, Smart Buy - Pinot Report
"...Medium ruby color; rich, deep, bright cherry aromas with earthy notes; deep, rich cherry flavors with earthy and savory spice notes; some oak; good structure and long finish."
The 2011 vintage was the coolest that I have experienced in California, with some vineyard sites struggling to ripen at all. We were fortunate that our fruit was ripe enough to pick just before the rain started on October 1. From the beginning HD has been dedicated to allowing the vineyard and vintage to dictate the style of the wine, and in this cool vintage, this meant accepting that the wine would be lighter bodied than in previous vintages. However, thanks to a stringent saignee at crush, the concentration of flavor is exceptional, meaning that the final wine, while lower in alcohol, is still very concentrated. The 2011 Pinot Noir is pale ruby in color. The nose shows an enticing blend of red fruit-cranberry, cherry, strawberry, red currant, and rhubarb-along with black tea, wild flowers, and slate. The palate shows berry and cherry, graphite, baking spice, and a fair amount of cedar from the new oak that will integrate and subside as the wine ages in bottle. Good but not abrasive acid, with long, spicy, grippy tannins carry the red fruit flavors through on the finish.
The vineyard lots were fermented separately in 1-ton fermenters, with each lot being a blend of two clones. After the success of our native fermentation from Ferguson vineyard in 2010, I made the decision to switch to all native fermentation this year, and couldn't be happier with the results. The native yeasts are slower to begin fermentation, allowing for the long cold-soak I am looking for, and they are slower to finish, allowing for more time on the skins. Both lots were barreled down to 50% new French oak after 14 days on the skins, and completed malolactic fermentation in barrel. Once again the best blend seemed to be a combination of the two blocks, so all four barrels were blended in August, and put back to barrel before being bottled in December of 2012. Our final production was a nice, round 101 cases.
In 2011 we celebrated our third vintage sourcing from the Sangiacomo Family's Robert's Road vineyard in the Petaluma gap, where our block of Swan clone pinot produces tiny, intensely flavored berries, and the block of Dijon 777 adds weight and richness. We sourced the second half of our fruit from the Sangiacomo's as well, from their Kiser/Vella Ranch just on the other side of the mountains from Robert's Road. The fruit was 50% Pommard clone, lending intensity and spice, and 50% Dijon 115, which adds lighter, high-toned fruit.
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Vineyard: Robert’s Road, Petaluma Gap & Ferguson Vineyard in Carneros
Bottling Date: December 13, 2012
Release: March, 2013
Production: 101 cases
Drinking Window: Summer 2013 to 2018+
Like many great ideas, the idea to form Hatton Daniels came out over a few bottles of wine shared between friends. Recognizing the talented winemaking skills of Daniel Fishman, his co-owners and friends John Hatton, Daniel Caddigan, and John Black pooled resources and pursued the shared vision of Hatton Daniels Wine Cellars.
Hatton Daniels is produced with the simple (sounding) intention of making the best possible wine based upon what the vintage gives us, while attempting to avoid preconceived notions about the “style” of wine we will end up with. This philosophy resulted in a slightly lighter wine than we might have expected for our 2009 vintage. In 2010, it first appeared that we had a more full-bodied wine on our hands, but it softened with time and is probably roughly similar to the 2009, or perhaps even a little lighter. The 2011 was a very strange one for Northern California, with a very cool summer followed by rain in early October. Rather than try to force anything, we went with a lighter style of wine, and though it is still aging in barrel, we are very happy with the elegance and finesse it is showing.
Dan Fishman is the Associate Winemaker for Auteur Wines. Through this position he also assists with the winemaking for The Donum Estate, Blue Farm Estate, Dunstan Wines and Conjure Wines.
Learn more at www.hattondaniels.com.