The days are getting longer and warmer here at Donum, and the 2022 growing season is well underway. Bud break was very similar in timing to 2021, which portends an average to a slightly early harvest, which is generally good for the consistent, high quality we aim to achieve with our wines. At our last Member Newsletter update, we had just received some significant rainfall, yet we saw minimal rain in 2022. With the continuing lack of rainfall in California, the farming practices we have instituted in the vineyard—reduced tilling, a focus on biologically active soils, and deficit irrigation, among others—which help reduce water usage is becoming ever more important. As we’ve experienced in other years with limited rainfall, a benefit to any
reduced crop yield leads to more intense, concentrated wines.
This year’s Member spring allocation features some old favorites and new wines from the stellar 2019 vintage. First up is the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, blended from multiple blocks of the Angel Camp Vineyard. This wine beautifully expresses the wild, heavily forested Anderson Valley growing region. We are also featuring the Angel Camp Pinot Noir, a reserve version of the Anderson Valley, selected from just the best blocks and barrels. Here red fruit and forest elements are joined by more floral components, and the complexity and depth of the finish reaches even higher levels. We are also featuring the Heritage Clones Pinot Noir from a tiny block of Calera clone on our Russian River Estate Vineyard. A favorite of mine, I love the way this wine is able to meld dark, rich fruit flavors with subtle savory notes and impeccable balance, resulting in a wine that achieves the rare feat of being both elegant and hedonistic at the same time.
Of the new wines in 2021, the first is The Heron Chardonnay, which took advantage of the concrete fermentation vessels we were able to make part of our new Estate winery. Fermenting in concrete yields a wine that has the richness that comes from fermentation in new oak barrels but without the oak flavor, resulting in a very interesting wine. Incidentally, I just discussed this wine on the Major Crush wine podcast for those who want to hear more. The second new wine is The Pearl, another wine fermented differently from the rest of our Pinot Noir. In this case, the fermentation vessel was a small egg-shaped wooden barrel which results in a uniquely structured wine with a round finish. Only one barrel of this wine was produced, so quantities are extremely limited.
Lastly, we wanted to provide a brief update on the 2020 vintage, which was bottled in February and will be released to Members this fall. This will be a smaller vintage for us in terms of production, yet the wines are of exceptional quality, with great freshness and vitality. I’m proud of our vineyard and winery teams and am looking forward to sharing more thoughts with our valued Members on the vintage in the coming months.
Vice President, Winemaking and Vineyards