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Domaine Valeta "Sunny Slope"

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Domaine Valeta<br/>"Sunny Slope"
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With caves tunneling deep into a vine-covered ridge in the Santa Cruz Mountains and vineyards so steep they have to be farmed with a unique, specially-designed tractor moved by cables, Clos de la Tech is one of the most ambitious and innovative Pinot Noir producers in California. The winery was established in 1994 and continues to be operated by TJ Rodgers, founder and retired CEO of Cypress Semiconductor, and his wife, Valeta. Some of the highlights at Clos de la Tech include extreme growing conditions, high-altitude terrain, vine-by-vine farming, high-density planting (4,150 vines per acre), low yields, innovative equipment, gravity-flow winery, whole cluster fermentations with native yeast, and no filtration.


Clos de la Tech's five Pinot Noirs come from three estate vineyards: Domaine du Docteur Rodgers, Domaine Valeta, and Domaine Lois Louise. Planted in 1999, Domaine Valeta sits on a mountaintop in the Santa Cruz Mountains, 2,350 feet above the Silicon Valley. It is a challenging site that endures wind, cold and the occasional snow. Of the property's 30 acres, only 3.5 acres are planted to vines. The soils are a mix of fractured weathered sandstone and sandy loam, and the clones include 113, 114, 115 and 777.


The fruit was hand harvested between September 4th and October 17th. After an extended cold soak, the grapes underwent traditional vinification methods including foot crushing, whole cluster fermentation with native yeast, malolactic fermentation on lees and gravity transfer (no pumping). The wine was aged in Francois Frères barrels (Bertrange Forest) for 16 months and bottled unfiltered.


We call Domaine Valeta "Sunny Slope" our "delicate, fragrant Burgundian wine." The following note is from a 30-year professional wine taster and wine letter publisher Mike Lynch: "The Sunny Slope vineyard may share the same vine spacing, clones, rootstocks, farming and winemaking techniques as with the other properties, but its wines are remarkably different. As with past vintages, the 2013 "Sunny Slope" Pinot Noir is the most perfumed of the wines. The nose is youthful, high-toned and sultry with hints of violets, rose pedals and plums. The palate delivers ample doses of power and structure."


Domaine Valeta tasting notes from Ron Wiegand: "Wow! Very fine Pinot Noir, in a velvety, intensely flavored style. It is ripe in character (black cherry, blueberry, red currant, violet), has layers of oak complexity (cedar, cigar tobacco, vanilla, toast), is smooth and long on the palate, with evident richness, excellent balance, and a harmonious finish. Outstanding quality. This wine drinks well now with decanting an hour before, and will be at its best through 2024, or cellar properly for 10 years or more."


Composition 100% Pinot Noir
Vineyard Domaine Valeta "Sunny Slope" block
Barrel Aging 16 months in Francois Frères French oak barrels (67% new)
pH 3.54
TA 0.65
Alcohol 14.2
Production 189 cases
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