Cougar Rock Vineyard straddles 1,450 to 1,800 feet of elevation in the Vaca Mountains, east of Yountville. The Pinot for this wine was harvested at 23° Brix, which helped bring the alcohol in at a temperate 12.5% ABV. The grapes were cold soaked, and fermentation was spontaneous. The open-top fermenters were punched down roughly daily, and once dry the wine was moved into used French oak barriques where it reposed for a year prior to bottling.
It has true Pinot character. The aromas suggest earth and stone, fruit and blood: geosmin, petrichor, wet clay, tomato, strawberry, green peppercorn. It’s also lightly volatile. The robe is limpid, clear red with a watery rim, and the wine gets texture from a spine of acidity and talc-like tannins. The fruit notes skew cherry and rhubarb, and at the finish, the acidity gallops back for a bite.
Delicious, earthy, and gastronomic; exciting but eminently sane.
2018 Brick & Mortar Pinot Noir Cougar Rock Vineyard Napa Valley
12.5% ABV | $54 (sample)