2021 Madson Ascona Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz, USA
Located at ~2500 feet of elevation in the South Skyline region of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Ascona Vineyard is farmed with organic practices. The soils are ancient marine sedimentary deposits of loosely consolidated sandstone and siltstone, with an average southwest exposure. During the day, Ascona is perched above the marine layer while fog and cool Pacific breezes prevail overnight. This strong diurnal temperature variation permits phenolic ripening and stem maturation, while preserving fresh natural acidity.
Upon harvest, we simply place the fruit in small open top fermenters as 100% whole clusters. We keep the fermenters cold for 3-5 days, before allowing them to warm up to room temperature and ferment spontaneously on native yeast. The ferments are tasted daily to assess the maceration and extraction. We pressed after ~18 days on skins to 25% new French oak barriques and bottle after ~9 months elevage.
On the nose, we are reminded of elderberry and wild blackberry, cinnamon, red cedar, a touch of orange peel and tamarind. On the palate, there is an exciting sinewy tension that portends even better things to come with bottle age.