Appellation: Santa Cruz Mountains
Varietal: Pinot Noir

  Profile #1
Impact Style
Profile #2
Solid Style
Profile #3
Ethereal Style
Profile #4
Distinctive Style
Appearance Dark to very dark concentrated color, sometimes with premature bricky edge. Medium-dark to dark color, with healthy degree of purple hue relative to age. May range from very light to medium-dark in color. Appearance is really irrelevant to this style. Any color is possible in this general category which focuses on presenting terroir characteristics.
Aroma Forceful, forward fruity aromas: black cherry, licorice, cocoa, soy, prune, and alcohol as well as scents of local vegetation such as bay, juniper or mustard. Sometimes an unabashed volatility drives the aromas. Often somewhat closed and hard in youth, with some reduction, even sulfides, covering aromas. Fresh cherry, plum or pomegranite flavors as well as scents of local vegetation such as bay, juniper or mustard. Intense, complex floral scents and exotic spice perfumes are the whole point of the wine. Strawberry, raspberry, watermelon, cotton candy and/or citrus elements, as well as scents of local vegetation such as bay, juniper or mustard. Seductive wines of great aromatic mystery Memorable signature aromas of place. Skyline Blvd wines are very floral with exotic spice elements,cocoa and tobacco. Saratoga ridge offers cranberry, sage and juniper, often heavy in truffle. Summit wines have a dense peatiness, marigold and dandelion with bright white cherry fruit. The southern slopes around Corralitos produce weedy strawberry, rhubard, nettle, sassafras and basil. Every site has its own unique aromas.
Flavor Big, rustic, masculine grainy tannins. Rich flavors may include guava, cherry, or nectarine and often assertive oak. Extremely dense. Authoritative but balanced. Layered, fine tannins are hard (sheetlike atop the tongue, clean under the tongue) until resolved with age. Profound stone fruit. Very clean and rich. Oily, unctuous, dense with perfume without necessarily a firm structural aspect. Dense and uncompromising, without heavy oak influence.
Balance Often alcohol-driven. Medium to soft acid for the region. Rich minerality. Commonly, driving acidity and intense minerality. Long finish, sometimes with a kiss of lime. Fine balance without excessive alcohol. Delicate, often with racy acidity and intense minerality. These are wines of place, grouped by no common thread other than their goal of expressing distinctive terroir features rather than pleasing the palate in any other way. Art for art’s sake, they may possess unexpected characteristics and imbalances.
Oenological Minimalist practices. The intention here is to impress rather than to seduce. Size matters. Extended maceration. High percentage new French Oak. The intention is ageability. Clean, balanced wines with structural integrity and longevity potential. This style requires sophisticated skill to appreciate their subtleties in youth. Whole berry maceration. Usually little cold soak or extended maceration. In these wines, sense of place is the point. Clean fermentations, usually with inoculated yeast, little new oak.
Viticultural Low yields. Dry farming. Extended hangtime. Balanced vines. Often relying on clones 667 and 777 for structural tannins. Not overripe or water stressed. Clones 114 and 115 contribute perfume, but vineyard mixes may also include Mt. Eden for truffles or Martini clone for nutmeg and smoked meat bouquet. Often organic vineyards with covercrops. A wide variety of clonal mixes are possible. Winegrowers wishing to make this style often include a portion of Mt. Eden clone with its exotic truffle aromas.
Terroir A stylistic tendency for vulnerable vineyards, especially at the higher altitudes, in years of water stress. Perfect climatic conditions are required to produce this style. Cool years or heavy fog areas are prone to this style, but it may be made in any year if fruit is not allowed to get overripe. Sites vary tremendously. Elevation 500-2600 feet. Well-drained soils of any description. Small vineyards, usually under 10 acres, surrounded by native vegetation which imparts its aromas to the wines. Regions I and II, with fog and ocean influences.