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Domaine Valeta Sunny Slope

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Domaine Valeta Sunny Slope
 
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OVERVIEW

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.

VINEYARDS

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.

WINEMAKING

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.

TASTING NOTES

We call Domaine Valeta "Sunny Slope" our "delicate, fragrant Burgundian wine." The following notes are 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 2015 "Sunny Slope" Pinot Noir is the most perfumed of the wines. The nose is youthful, high-toned, pure, long and persistent with hints of violets and nice oak. The palate delivers lush ‘sweetness’." 

Domaine Valeta tasting notes from Ron Wiegand: "An exceptional wine (⁕⁕⁕⁕⁕). Very supple in texture and full bodied, this is a fairly rich and well-balanced Pinot Noir with several years of development ahead. It is very ripe in style, and tastes of strawberry, plum, blueberry jam, rose petal, cedar, and spicy oak. Slightly tannic finish, decant one hour before drinking."

STATISTICS

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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