Our first pinot noir comes from a small 1/2 acre vineyard on the west side of Petaluma. For the longest time we didn’t want to make a pinot. Sonoma County’s cash crop has too many vineyards producing sub-par fruit and demanding too high a price, so we avoided making a pinot noir until we were offered a unique opportunity. The ‘Mariani’ vineyard is planted to the rare ‘la Tache’ clone of pinot noir and is constantly cooled by the coastal winds and thick fog of the Petaluma Gap. Vines planted in the clay soils here are lower and yield tight bunches of intensely flavored fruit. Lower in acidity than you would find in other ‘Dijon’ clones of pinot noir, the grapes from this site have dark blueberry, blackberry, and forest floor flavors with a wonderful nose of red currant and lavender. It is silky, light, and a classic old world style pinot that we are proud to produce: the perfect pairing for your grilled salmon, poultry, or boeuf bourguignon.
The first time we worked with this vineyard was the very first day of the devastating wildfires of 2017. We started harvest at 4am. Before the sun rose our phones exploded with messages from the winery crew: people were fleeing their homes, trapped where they were, no one was making it to the winery. We couldn’t stop the harvest – nothing stops the harvest – you finish your work or your entire year’s crop is destroyed. As the sun rose we saw smoke all around us and the only blue sky we could see was a ring in the sky right above this vineyard. The ash and smoke consumed everything right after we finished our pick. If we had started harvest even 4 hours later, everything would have been destroyed. None of the grapes were damaged, and we drove the covered grapes through thick, black walls of smoke to get them safely to the winery. We named the wine ‘the Gray Haven’ for the constant fog that blankets our appellation, to honor our city (Petaluma) as a refuge for evacuees through two massive wildfires, and for the memory of that day when the wind kept the smoke and ash away just long enough for us to finish our harvest.