A Reflection on the 2021 Vintage - Part 1
Evening Land’s 2021 vintage Pinot Noir offer occasions the opportunity to share a full accounting of these wines from bud to bottle. Retelling these wines’ journey is intended to inform your consumption and hopefully enhance your enjoyment.
Vintages like 2021 are poignant reminders of the virtues of an eastern exposure and the cooling winds of the Van Duzer corridor. An otherwise stunning vintage was briefly interrupted by a late season heat spike that might easily send a vintage into an overripe character, lacking in vivacity and character. Our vineyard team’s commitment to leaving leaves in the fruit zone, combined with the vineyard’s eastern aspect mitigated the effects of these high temperatures. Add to this our preference for harvesting on the leading edge of ripeness, the ability to capture that combination of bright acidity and textural richness was achieved in 2021.
It is difficult to overstate the attention to detail with which we task our vineyard team. Allowing the fruit to remain shaded, taking a vine-by-vine approach, and often harvesting parcels in multiple passes are all time-consuming and detail-oriented tasks that make the work of farming more arduous while contributing immensely to the potential for fine wine.
In the Cellar
Building on lessons learned in the 2019 vintage, Sashi and Raj continued using the infusion method of fermentation on all the 2021 Pinot Noir. Inspired by their love for the wines of Clos Rougeard, the pair believed that this delicate method of maceration would yield the highest-quality results. To execute the process, roughly two-thirds of the fruit was de-stemmed and simply allowed to infuse with its skins. As always, no inoculation was used. Native fermentation took place in open-top wooden vats (tronconique) and both wines were pressed so gently that the final wines are almost entirely the result of free-run juice.
The results of this gentle, natural process is most immediately evident in the wonderful aromatics of the 2021 La Source Pinot Noir, and it is also accounts for the remarkable harmony of both wines so early in their development.
Evolution in the Cellar
From the outset, Pinot Noir in the 2021 vintage embodied both the delineation and elegance of a vintage like 2017 and 2019 with the concentration and depth of a vintage like 2016. In the 2021 Summum Pinot Noir this wonderful juxtaposition is most apparent. This is a wine whose elements harmonized very early in the cellar, assuring us of a long-lived and well-balanced wine.
The character of the two wines are markedly different. The 2021 La Source Pinot Noir is as expressive and exuberant a La Source as we have ever bottled. Even at this early stage, the aromatics leap from the glass. The combination of grace and concentration meant that both Pinot Noir bottlings harmonized well with a meaningful percentage of new oak. The 2021 La Source was raised in neutral barrique (228L) and new puncheon (500L) for a rough average of 35% new oak. The 2021 Summum, of which just 8 barrels were produced, saw 75% new barrique during élevage.
The ‘outspoken’ La Source and the ‘regal’ Summum both went to bottle earlier this summer absent fining or filtration and we are truly delighted with the results.
Since joining us in the 2020 vintage, this season offered assistant winemaker Damien Lapuyade his first opportunity to craft the La Source and Summum cuvées and work to execute the specific winemaking vision of Sashi and Raj. The La Source and Summum Pinot Noir are probably two of the finest examples of Damien's steadfast hand and attention to detail in the winery.