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Baxter Openlander Vineyard Alexander Valley Pinot Noir 2012

Prince of Pinot 92-94pts:

100% whole cluster. Aged in 100% neutral French oak barrels. Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Enticing whole cluster accents of spice and rose petal goodness on the nose and palate. Bold flavors of earth-kissed darker fruits unencumbered by oak with a freshness and vivaciousness that appeals. Somewhat brooding and in need of decanting. 

Wine Enthusiast 94pts

From the winemaker:

Located near the town of Comptche, only nine miles from the Pacific Ocean, the Oppenlander vineyard is rapidly becoming one of the most celebrated vineyards in Mendocino. Planted on it's own roots, the vines seamlessly uptake nutrients, ripening beautifully and producing grapes with a unique local identity. The slightly cooler climate helps this vineyard produce a wine with an intense backbone and a vivid color, without overpowering the delicate aromas and smooth mouthfeel desirable in a Pinot Noir.

In addition to our usual Oppenlander Pinot Noir, this is an extra-special tiny lot of 100% whole-cluster Oppenlander Pinot. We use a mix of clones to produce this beautiful wine, focussing on Pommard, 114 and a little 115. The resulting wine is an even more intense, bright, oppulent version of our destemmed Oppenlander. Full of dark red fruits such as cranberry and black cherry. The nose starts with bramble and quickly gives way to black tea and rose petal, underlined by a delicate, dusty sous-bois texture from the stem-inclusion. Rich in minerals and focussed fruit, the wine slowly unfolds to reveal it's elegance and complexity. Enjoy on it's own, or compare to our 100% de-stemmed version. Drinking really wonderfully now, only 3 barrels produced.

Whole-cluster fermentation is an age-old tradition in Burgundy, where Phillip spent time learning and using theses techniques at a winery in Pommard. After being hand-harvested, the fruit is put whole cluster into a stainless steel fermenter where it undergoes Carbonic Maceration using native (wild) yeast. Winemaker Phillip begins extremely gentle hand punch-downs daily during the later stages of fermentaion. The berries remaining mostly intact during fermenation is what gives the beaujolais freshness to the nose and the flesh to the mid-palate. The wine is aged in 100% Neutral French oak barrels for 15 months before being bottled.

Winemaker Phillip T G Baxter employs respect and intuition, using artisan techniques to capture the purest expressions of terroir. An alumni of UC Davis Viticulture & Enology, his experience working in Burgundy, France has shaped his restrained approach, which seeks to let the fruit and terroir speak for itself.

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Category: 2012, 90+ points, California

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