Throughout centuries of cultivation, winegrowers have paid close attention to their vines, watching for beneficial changes as the plants adapted to their site and growing conditions. They selected those with exceptional attributes and propagated them by cuttings from the original vine into the vine types we call “clones”: genetically identical vines that are prized for specific characteristics. Bud break, berry colour, disease resistance, soil or climate suitability, cluster size, yield, flavours, aromas, and how the grapes ripen are just some of the many traits that can be managed through careful clone selection and cultivation.
Reign of Terroir
Clones perform at their best when they are put to work in the type of soil and climate from which they develop. Pinot Noir favours cool conditions, and Monterey’s coastal climate — with afternoon breezes, evening fog and a long growing season—is known for producing exceptional Pinot. On the gentle slopes of our San Bernabe Vineyard, the 667 Pinot Noir clone does especially well in the heavier, darker soils, which give the fruit concentration without too much ripeness. We plant it on the more exposed sites, to make it work harder and become even more concentrated. With the inspiring San Bernabe Vineyard at its core, Noble Vines 667 also sources fruit from vineyards in Monterey’s Santa Lucia Highlands and Arroyo Seco AVAs.
Claim to Fame
One of the newer French “Dijon” clones, 667 is best known for having much deeper colour and more tannin than typical Pinot Noir, resulting in wines with great structure and black fruit flavours with spicy notes. We blend it with a small amount of other clones like 115, which doesn’t have as much structure but has extraordinary aromatics and enhances the nose.
Because the 667 Pinot Noir clone is naturally tannic and concentrated, winemaker James Ewart adopts careful vinification techniques to bring out its best. He cold soaks the crushed grapes (called “must”) for two to three days, using gentle pump-overs to bring out the colour and flavour without extracting any bitter seed tannins. He also ferments it at cooler temperatures to lock in that deep colour and flavour profile. In fact, he says, “I treat it more like a white wine.” After fermentation and aging in a combination of French and American oak, he blends in a few lots of additional clones that add specific aromatic qualities to the finished wine. This gentle care results in a balanced, cool-climate Pinot Noir that showcases clone 667’s concentrated flavours and supple tannins.
Noble Vines 667 Pinot Noir exhibits appealing aromas of black cherry, earth and a touch of vanilla. Plush tannins and balanced acidity support core flavours of ripe Bing cherry, bittersweet cocoa powder and delicate hints of sage. Enjoy on its own or with salmon, Veal Parmesan or grilled lamb.