2016 Walsh Ranch Pinot Noir


2016 Walsh Ranch Pinot Noir


There are few other grapes that are as romantically written about as pinot noir.  You just don’t hear people waxing poetic about poulsard. It is also internationally grown and great wines can be tasted from France, California, New Zealand…

Pinot noir was what brought me to Santa Barbara County back in 2007 and even though I have focused more of my production on other varieties I have always made a bit of pinot noir.  We were lucky to work with a property called Walsh Ranch from 2016 through 2018.  

Tom and Lee Walsh planted a small vineyard on their ranch in Cebada Canyon in 2013.  The vines are Pommard clone grown in very sandy soil atop a west facing slope on the eastern edge of the La Purisima Mission State Park.  Despite being so far west the vines would always come out of dormancy quickly and be the first fruit we would bring in each year.  

The vineyard was even more special since Jenn and I lived on the property for three years.  It was a dream come true to take care of vines you could see from your living room. The wind really punished the vines and early budbreak usually meant shitty flowering.  When we started farming the vines they were also only on their third leaf so I guess what I am getting at is we never got much wine off the property. Our deal with the Walsh family was that they would receive a percentage of the production as payment.  

Sadly, Tom and Lee sold the ranch last fall and Jenn and I moved to another property a few minutes away.  We loved our time there, Ellis was born and lived for two and a half years there, we will always look back on our time there as truly special.  You can guarantee we will be certain to always have some of this wine in our cellar.  

The 2016 vintage yielded a little less than 1.5 tons off of the roughly 1 acre site.  We treated it like all our grapes, a bit of stem inclusion, gentle handling, pressing at dryness and neutral oak aging.  This wine was not filtered and minimal sulfur was added. We took the best barrel and a bit of wine that was in a stainless keg to make this blend. The other two barrels were put into the 2016 Santa Barbara County Pinot noir.  It is earthy, structured and as my Danish friends would say a bit melancholy. This is a wine from the sand and fog, a wine to make you think.  

Only 35 cases were produced. Once the Walsh got their allotment and I put some in our library we had 10 cases left over. 

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