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Corley Family Napa Valley

Chris Corley
September 7, 2008 | Crush ! | Chris Corley

FERMENTATION CHECK: Home Ranch - Block 3 Pinot Noir - Dijon Clones

Posted By : Chris Corley

NOTE : We spend a lot of our time doing Fermentation Checks each day during harvest. As it relates to our blog, ‘FERMENTATION CHECK’ will be an opportunity for us to share our cellar activities with you in real time.


With yesterday’s pick of Block 3, we’ve just finished all of our Pinot Noir for the season. This year, Block 3 was a three day pick. Block 3 has four different Dijon Clones planted in basically equal amounts. The clones are 113, 115, 667 & 777. While we do find nuances of flavor and aroma each year in the finished wines, the vines in the field grow mostly in sync. By this, I mean that all four clones tend towards the same growing schedule – budbreak, veraison, ripening patterns, harvest.

This year, we isolated a couple of selected tons of each clone to be individually fermented and aged in barrel separately. These free run, individually barrel aged clonal selections will be the materials for our CORLEY Pinot Noir. The balance of the clones will be co-fermented and will form the base of our MONTICELLO Pinot Noir. Individually fermenting the clone doesn’t make the resulting wine ‘better’. It simply provides us with more nuanced blending options further down the road. For our CORLEY Pinot Noir, which may be just a couple of hundred cases, these options are nice to have – and also fun to play around on the blending table with.

The Block 3 Pinot Noir lots have just been inoculated, they have picked up nice color during their cold soaks. We’re planning to keep the fermentations fairly cool – between 75F-80F – to maintain as much aroma and flavor as we can without extracting too much tannin, which Pinot Noir can have considerable amounts of in the seeds. The sugars jumped a bit due to the heat spike we’ve had this past week, but the flavors are rockin’, the seeds are all brown and the skins like velvet, so we’re pretty excited about the potential.

I think we’ll have a bottle of MONTICELLO Estate Grown Pinot Noir with dinner tonight to keep my palate calibrated for this season and (hopefully) celebrate today’s 49ers opening day victory !


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