Summer has finally arrived here in Sonoma County, and I am thrilled to write to you about your Summer Allocation while looking out over the sun-soaked vineyards. After a cool spring, we finally saw some warmer weather, bringing out the incredible array of wildflowers we use in our cover crop and pushing the vines through flowering and into the heart of the growing season. Now, we will continue to monitor the ripening fruit and prepare for harvest. At this point, we are about two to three weeks behind 2022, so we will likely start picking Pinot Noir in the last ten days of August.
The Summer Allocation includes two Chardonnays from the 2020 vintage and the first Pinot Noir from 2021. The two Chardonnays, our 2020 Russian River Valley Chardonnay and 2020 Carneros Estate Chardonnay provide a study in contrasts, with the Russian River Valley’s sandy soils and warmer average temperatures pushing the fruit more towards stone fruit and apple with plenty of acidity, while the clay soils and wind of Carneros results in a Chardonnay with a softer mouthfeel and fruit spectrum leaning towards citrus and white pepper. Both are great for summer evenings, where they can be served chilled while the sun is out and paired with grilled fish or chicken.
First up is our 2021 Three Hills Pinot Noir, which is a blend from our Carneros Estate’s cooler, later ripening blocks, yielding an elegant, balanced wine with bright red fruit and strong mineral and earth components. The 2021 Three Hills Pinot Noir is one of our favorites here on the property because it is versatile and has a very fresh and lively finish.
Lastly, we are offering our 2021 White Barn Pinot Noir, a special cuvée of Wadenswil clone of Pinot Noir, originally sourced from Switzerland. This clone ripens very late, allowing us to pick at low alcohol, and we include the stems in the fermentation, which adds a beautiful, savory not of tea leaf. The White Barn Pinot Noir is the lightest Pinot in this allocation and is perfect for those warm summer days.
On a personal note, it is gratifying to see the 2021 wines being released, as this marks my 10th vintage of winemaking at Donum. As a team, we strive to improve the quality of our farming and winemaking each vintage, and each release is a thrill to make.
I hope to be writing to you someday about another decade in the bottle. Cheers, and thank you for your continued support!
Vice President, Winemaking & Vineyards