2019 La Belle Pinot Noir
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Only 125 cases produced
La Belle is a special member-exclusive offering that is made in very limited quantities. The 2019 La Belle expresses the richness and fruit of a Dijon Clone 113 grown on the deeper Jory soils of the lower blocks, combined with the structure that whole cluster fermentation contributes. The fruit was picked on the last day of the 2019 harvest at the Lingua Franca Estate, adding to the luscious, generous quality of the wine. It is nuanced with bright floral and raspberry notes, some mineral and rose petal qualities, and velvety tannins, a tribute to the qualities that people admire in fine Burgundy. Though La Belle is always selected from the most accessible, elegant, balanced and seductive lots of wine from our Lingua Franca Estate, this vintage has more structure and promises to reveal more as it ages.
Block 21 was picked on September 30, later than our other blocks, and consists solely of Dijon Clone PN113. This clone is rarely found on its own in a cuvée. In addition, because of the quality of the fruit and a spicy quality in the stems that a later pick date afforded, Thomas treated this lot to a whole cluster fermentation of 43%, the highest percent of whole cluster that our entire vintage of wines received. The weather, the place, and the generous use of whole cluster elevated this supporting actor into a stellar solo performance. Nonetheless, the alcohol indicates that the berries were no riper than the neighboring blocks were even though those blocks were picked six days earlier.
La Belle was harvested and then 57% destemmed to produce a luscious, rich wine with seamless texture. The large amount of whole cluster fruit, 43%, adds layers of complexity without compromising its immediate accessibility. The grapes were fed bin by bin, not pumped, into a 7-ton stainless steel fermenting tank. Wild yeast fermentation began with gentle pump overs and included one or two punch downs towards the end of the cuvasion. Pigeage is done traditionally by foot. After fermentation, the wine aged in a combination of 40% new and 60% neutral French oak barriques for 12 months and four in tank, prior to bottling.
The 2019 La Belle should be enjoyed with elegant, more aromatic dishes, such as roasted chicken, pheasant, or quail. For a vegetarian dish, it pairs well with sautéed chanterelles, or other mushroom and grain combinations, like chanterelles or hedgehog mushrooms in quinoa, or wild rice with Black Walnuts and truffle butter. It would also pair beautifully with hazelnut crusted baked salmon or grilled veal chops with rosemary. It works with a rack of spring lamb or a lamb loin lightly seasoned with herbs de Provence and garlic. The drinkability of La Belle makes it a perfect match for charcuterie and aged cow’s milk cheeses, such as Gouda, Comté, Fontina Val d’Aosta, Tillamook Reserve, Keene’s, Montgomery’s, or Bandage Wrapped Cheddars and Beecher’s Flagship.
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