Pinot Noir - Madras - Steiner Vineyard - Sonoma Mountain - 2014


A 10-clone "massale" harvest and co-fermentation
100% Whole Cluster Fermentation
17 month elevage, neutral French Oak

Everything that has come to be expected from Madras is here—a bouquet informed by the bright, fresh fruit of preserves; cranberry, pomegranate and rainier cherry fruit that brambles on the palate; complexities of savory baking spice; minerality that echoes fresh spring water and wet stone—but all run through the filter of the magnificence that is the 2014 vintage.

Having crafted Madras since the 2011 vintage, we are beginning to understand how these wines develop in bottle over time, and are thrilled with the results. A recent tasting of the 2012 vintage showed that, upon pouring, this wine has actually gained a deeper hue than it had on release. The nose showed a pronounced florality and pine forest accent, we had never encountered. These notes carried over to the palate where their complexities were a wonderful complement to the red fruit character Madras naturally expresses.

Planted to a 10-clone, repeating pattern of both Dijon and California heritage vinesMadras hails from a rocky west-facing slope situated on the cool, north side of Sonoma Mountain. This block is a true labor of love attributed to, grower/owner of Steiner Vineyard, Nate Belden's vision, perseverance and chutzpah.

Because all 10 clones are inter-planted, what remains is a completely undemocratic expression Pinot Noir, the scale tilted firmly in favor of site, trumping clonal character and winemaker discretion. A truly special situation, incredibly rare in the world of modern viticulture. Needless to say, much like moths to a flame, Argot was drawn in.

The approach taken in vinting Madras has remained consistent since its inaugural vintage in 2011. No sorting. No destemming. No new oak. Cool ferments, and manual mixing by foot-tread twice a day. In the spirit of this planting, the goal was to be as hands-off as possible, in hopes of accurately translating purity of varietal and transparency of place.

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