It is winter at The Donum Estate, and the vines are fully dormant. Our cover crop is starting to come in, and we are happy to have seen so many cold nights and a good amount of rain for where we are in the season. Although the vineyards are quiet, we are getting ready for the second busiest time of year in the winery: bottling. We will be bottling the 2021 vintage so you won’t see those wines for a while, but we are also bottling the 2022 Carneros Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir which will be available this Spring and offers a great preview of the 2022 vintage. But, for this release, we will turn our attention back to 2020 with some interesting small-production
The first one in this allocation is the 2020 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir from our smallest estate vineyard. Because of the abrupt end to the 2020 season (due to wildfires) we made less wine than usual from Russian River Valley, and we did not make a Russian River Valley Reserve at all, meaning that the fruit that normally goes into the Reserve in our Estate wine. This is a slightly lighter version of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir than is typical for Donum, but it has plenty of concentration and should age beautifully.
We are also offering a trio of our small-production reserve wines. First up is the 2020 Ten Oaks Pinot Noir, also from Russian River Valley, but picked earlier and with some whole-cluster which results in a wine with plenty of juicy red fruit, as well as a touch of spice and herb. Next is the 2020 East Slope Pinot Noir, from the Calera clone grown on our Carneros Estate. This block was heavily impacted by frost in 2020, so the quantity is quite limited; less than 100 cases were produced. Finally, we have a new wine from Angel Camp Vineyard in Anderson Valley, the 2020 The Observer Pinot Noir. This is a unique wine in the Donum portfolio, somewhat like White Barn in style, but leaning even more heavily into the light, savory, herbal side of the Pinot Noir spectrum. Picked early and using 100% stem inclusion, The Observer will appeal to those who favor earthy flavors with less emphasis on ripeness.
As usual, these wines will benefit from a year or more in the cellar, and I think the East Slope, in particular, has a very long life ahead of it.
Vice President of Winemaking and Vineyards