It’s hard to believe that another Harvest has come and gone already, yet here we are. The 2021 vintage was a special one for me personally, as it marked my 10th as Winemaker for Donum. In some ways, ‘21 was reminiscent of my first vintage making Donum wine, 2012, as we had average to large crops and mostly even ripening weather. However, unlike 2012, this year we had almost no rain, which made the season very early and led to increased concentration in the grapes. It will be an interesting vintage to follow through aging and blending. For now, we are going to focus on the newly released 2019 vintage.
The 2019 Harvest marked the first in our new state-of-the-art winery building, so it is very exciting to release our first wines made entirely on the Estate. This vintage also marked the beginning of our transition to organic farming. Overall, 2019 was a near-perfect season in terms of weather, free of unusual weather events and mostly even daytime high temperatures. There was a regional wildfire, but it came late in the year, well after the grapes were safely harvested. Thanks to the moderate weather, we were able to harvest every lot at ideal ripeness and ferment with all indigenous yeasts.
All our usual favorites were made in 2019, including beautiful versions of the Carneros Pinot Noir and its partner, the lighter-styled Three Hills. In 2019, we are introducing two new wines available to you in your 2022 Allocations: The Heron Chardonnay, fermented in concrete, and The Pearl Pinot Noir, fermented in a small oak cask. We’re also bringing back two wines that haven’t been made in several years, the Reserve Chardonnay, a selection of the best barrels of Chardonnay from Carneros and the East Slope Pinot Noir is a personal favorite of mine. While the West Slope brings remarkable power and concentration, thanks to the afternoon sun that ripens the grapes, the East Slope shows the more delicate side of Pinot Noir, as it ripens mostly with the morning sun. The East Slope is also made entirely from the Calera clone, which I value for its ability to show ripe dark berry notes while at the same time expressing elegant floral and savory flavors. Rounding out the lineup is our most delicate, light-bodied Pinot Noir, the White Barn. For the first time in 2019 White Barn was made using 100% stem inclusion, resulting in a wine with great tannic structure and intriguing briar and bramble aromas.
It is a great pleasure to offer these special wines from our first vintage in the new Estate winery. They are all drinking nicely today and will improve with 2-5 years in the cellar. In particular, I’d recommend cellaring some of the Three Hills Pinot Noir, which I believe will be drinking exceptionally well as it nears a decade in age.
Vice President, Winemaking and Vineyards