These limited release wines are available only to guests of the winery and our wine club members, and often result in just a few barrels each vintage. This Pinot Gris is a warm weather favorite of guests on the South Terrace, looking south over the Napa Valley.
Tinged with the slightest copper hue, our Pinot Gris adeptly balances ripe white tree-fruits with vibrant acidity and sprightliness. The wine opens with expressive aromas of white peach and Bartlett pear, which are joined by wafts of orange blossom, lemon peel and notes of wet river rock with a touch of allspice. The entry is supple and smooth, leading with ripe, succulent stone fruit and then picking up a tantalizing brightness of grapefruit, citrus and chalky mineral notes on the finish. This wine is a perfect companion for picnics or seafood cookouts and works well as both an apéritif and a refreshing complement to popular warm weather dishes.
Ample winter rains provided welcome saturation for the soils, followed by a cool Spring which delayed flowering and fruit set. The long, warm summer saw very few extreme heat events, with foggy mornings setting the stage for vibrant and expressive wines. Continued mild temperatures extended the growing season, preserving freshness and finesse in the wines.
This Pinot Gris comes from a small corner of the Oak Knoll Vineyard, where two distinctive Pinot Gris clones, clone 152 and the DVX clone, are planted next to each other. This vineyard, located at the southern end of the valley just below Yountville, is the second-coolest growing region within Napa Valley. Not only does it enjoy breezes from San Pablo Bay to the south, but it also sits just east of a beneficial gap in the Mayacamas Mountains, which allows Pacific breezes to funnel in from the Estero Americano in the west. Combined, these cooling influences balance the often warm summer days, creating grapes with well-balanced aromas and flavors.
Director of Winemaking Harry Hansen was raised in nearby Sonoma County. “One of my earliest memories of wine was the gallon jug of red wine that we always had at home. I would go with my father to a local winery, maybe in Kenwood or Healdsburg, to refill that jug and chit-chat with the winery proprietors. The aromas of those wines were always something attractive, somehow mysterious, but always memorable.”
Harry joined Sterling Vineyards and relocated to Napa Valley just before the 2011 Harvest. “The opportunity to join such a respected Napa Valley winery is exciting and a fantastic next step in my winemaking career. Sterling Vineyards is making some wonderful wines, and I look forward to taking that next step up in quality and reputation.”