Wine Spotlight: 2017 Terra de Promissio Vineyard Pinot Noir
It is with tremendous enthusiasm that we release the inaugural vintage from the renowned Terra de Promissio Vineyard. The soil, southwest sun exposure, elevation, rolling hills and vine density, combined with the fog and wind from the Petaluma Wind Gap and Pacific Ocean, allow the grapes to mature slowly, yielding extended hang time and optimum ripeness. Although our winery roots run deep in the Russian River Valley, we are always looking to expand our options to include neighboring growing areas for diversification and creativity, and the Terra de Promissio Vineyard delivers on every level.
Harvest began on August 21st, the day of the total eclipse, 11 days later than the year before, so hang-time was in keeping with historical averages, but it commenced in a flash. Seven percent of grapes came in the first week, followed by 53% the second during a severe heat wave. The remainder of harvest after Labor Day seemed to steady a bit as the weather cooled slightly. Curiously the final fruit of the vintage came in on autumn equinox. Planning ahead and pre-scheduling picks before the heat wave, in addition to overnight refrigeration and overall team efficiency smoothed over this rapid harvest’s bumps. Thanks to our grower partners and our own hard work, the flavor and ripeness of the wines is excellent. To our pleasant surprise, ~95% of the grapes came in on target, between 22-24.5 Brix, which is miraculous given the extreme conditions. This is definitely an indication of our overwhelming dedication to quality, but it is also a great reward for the hard work and long hours that went into making the 2017 vintage.
This is a wonderfully balanced wine that exudes aromas of strawberry, rhubarb, rose hip, thyme and coriander. A precise core of tart acidity sets the stage for a beautiful and elegant expression of bright, earthy and savory flavors, ranging from blood orange, beet root and tamarind to sour cherry chutney, pomegranate seed and roasted kukicha twig tea. The complex, earthy palate unfolds continuously, with layers of minerality and mouthwatering acidity. The finish is long and velvety, boasting exquisite fi ne-grained tannins. This is a gorgeous expression of the cool Petaluma Wind Gap.
- 93 Points | Wine Enthusiast, May 2021
Terra de Promissio, meaning the “Land of Promise”, is one of California’s most recognized and sought-after vineyards. Developed and managed by Charles and Diana Karren, this stunning plot of vineyard land is now planted to 50 acres of Pinot Noir vines. The first 32 acres were planted in 2002 to Dijon Clones 115 and 777. In 2012 and 2013, the remaining 18 acres were planted to clone 943, Swan 97 and Calera. The soil, southwest sun exposure, elevation, rolling hills and vine density, combined with the fog and wind from the Petaluma Wind Gap and Pacific Ocean, allow the grapes to mature slowly, yielding extended hang time and optimum ripeness. These ideal conditions result in intense flavors, ample tannin structure and nearly perfect natural acidity. We work with two clones from this site: Swan clone 97 is known to produce bright and rich Pinot Noir, lighter in color than many other clones, with intense aromatics and an elegant, earthy character; clone 943 produces notoriously small, power-packed clusters and berries that add structure and concentration to the finished wine.
The Petaluma Gap is the premier gateway to the Sonoma County wine region. Established as an AVA in December 2017, the wind and fog are the Petaluma Gap’s trademark. The “Gap” is actually a wind gap named after the coastal mountain opening that creates an air funnel starting at the Pacific Ocean, flowing through the town of Petaluma and then roaring south to the San Pablo Bay. Grape vines in the Petaluma Gap region experience longer, cooler growing seasons resulting in ripe flavors, lower alcohol and higher acidity.
Intro to Gary Farrell Winery
Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery is a 39-year pioneer of cool climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley. Winemaker Theresa Heredia joined us in 2012, carrying on our legacy of crafting Burgundian-styled, varietally expressive small-lot artisan wines capturing the balance and stylistic elegance of some of the finest vineyards in the Russian River Valley AVA and beyond; including Rochioli, Allen, Bacigalupi, Hallberg, Ritchie, Olivet Lane, Durell, Gap’s Crown, Fort Ross and Bien Nacido. Theresa works closely with our growers to showcase the exceptional fruit from their vineyards in each of her wines.