Aahh, Pinot, that seductive little mynx of a grape. So many different personalities, each one a little different, each one a little more seductive. Pinot is described as “sex in a glass” by Master Sommelier Madelaine Triffon. This is the reason that people become so passionate about Pinot. It gets under your skin, into your blood, and when you smell its heady aromas in the glass it stimulates something in your mind, you know right away that its Pinot.
When I say Pinot, I am of course talking about Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir over the centuries has mutated into hundreds of different clones, and varietals such as Pinot Gris/Grigio, Pinot Blanc/Blanco, and Pinot Meunier.
At Three Dog we have currently three different Pinot Noir clones planted, 115, 667, and 777. All are planted, for that matter all of our Vinifera are planted on Riperia rootstock. We will get into rootstocks at some other date. We hope to get some Pommard clone from our friends over at Lailey this spring, depending on the damage from the cold. This is the clone that is used their Old Vines Pinot, a great Pinot. This clone will be custom grafted by Grapevale Nursery. We have be been attempting to hunt down other clones to plant this spring, 828 and/or 943 both on Riperia, but no luck yet.
Why all this concern over different clones? Does it really matter when its all Pinot anyway? Here is some details on the clones that we have in the ground now, I will chat about a few others in the very near future.
Clone 115: Bud burst, flowering, and ripening are all fairly early. Clusters are small like little hand grenades, not that I have ever held one. Makes wine with a good strong purple colour, people have said to mean when made as a stand alone wine that it is to much colour for a Pinot. Great nose, elegent, soft cherry notes.
Clone 667: Bud burst, flowering, and ripening are a little later than 115. Clusters are larger than 115. Makes wine with a brilliant bright colour. Always an interesting nose, with different layers and less fruit than 115. Wine seems to also be more tannic than 115.
Clone 777: Bud burst, flowering, are later than both 115 and 667, but ripening are in line with them. Clusters are smaller than 667, more like 115 but looser. Wines with a intensley coloured. Nose matches the colour, strong cherry and berry notes. By itself I find it a stronger Pinot, more intense than the softer feminine style that I love.
Blending the different clones is an attempt to tease the best out of each clone. Also it is fun, believe it or not, tasting the different clones and figuring out what the best blend is.
In case you need another reason to drink Pinot Noir, it seems to be three to four times higher in resveratrol than other varietals, especially when grown in cooler climates like Prince Edward County. So raise a glass to our health.