I was sitting in a cozy, dark restaurant in Beaune, the Heart of Burgundy, France. My good friend ordered us a bottle of wine. He asked me what I thought. The nose was layered. It fluttered between cherries and violets and earth. The tannins were silky and soft, the acidity invited you back for more. It was complex and it was subtle. It was elegant and perfect. It was a beautiful example of a Volnay. I always knew I had a love for Pinot Noir, but tasting this wine solidified that. I wanted to make a wine like this.
Pinot Noir is one of the greatest grapes. You can love it, you can hate it, but I just don't think you can deny it. It is a tell-all grape. It will expose you as a grape grower and as a winemaker. There is no hiding anything in a Pinot Noir, it will show you all it's cards.
This authenticity of Pinot Noir I think is also what makes it so magical. When you taste a Pinot, you can truly get an idea of what the weather and climate were like that season, what the soil is like, and what decisions the winemaker made. It is a grape that honestly reflects it's terrior. If you over-manipulate it in the winery, you will taste it. It is a grape that demands to be respected.
Although Pinot is grown widely throughout the world, there are few places that it showcases best. In my opinion, Prince Edward County is one of those places. We don't get the power and structure of some of the warmer regions, what we get is subtlety, concentration and beautiful lively acidity.
Here at Harwood we grow two different clones of Pinot Noir - 115 and 667. Both clones originate from the most well known home of Pinot Noir, Burgundy, France. We keep these clones separate throughout picking, fermentation and barrel aging. Typically, 115 will give brighter fruit flavours where 667 will give a deep concentration of fruit but also an earthy note. They both comprise a portion of our final Harwood Pinot Noir.
Pinot aging in French oak in our barrel cellar.
Pinot grows very well on our shallow, limestone soils and fits perfectly within our shorter and cooler growing season. When we feel our Pinot grapes are at their optimal ripeness, we pick, crush and destem and then ferment at a slightly cooler temperature to preserve it's aromatic integrity. We barrel age our Pinot for about 16 months in a mixture of new and older French oak barrels of varying formats. From a winemaking perspective, Pinot is a unique grape to work with as it builds a vast amount of complexity throughout the élevage process. It can be nail-biting as you watch it age and truthfully I am not at ease until it is safe and in bottle!
Currently we are selling our 2017 Pinot Noir online and in our retail store.
So I encourage you to come by and try our Pinot, we hope you'll fall in love with it too. There are many other wineries in Prince Edward County making some amazing Pinot so I also encourage you to try those too! Explore other Pinot Noir's from around the world, compare them to our county Pinot's and see if you can taste a sense of place! Let us know what you think!
If you have a question or a topic you would like to know more about, we would love to hear from you! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will cover it in a future post!
Our tasting room is open 11- 6 everyday, all year long!