Every day is Pinot Noir day for us, especially now that harvest has started, but today it’s Pinot Noir day for the rest of the country, too. August 18th is National Pinot Noir Day, a time to pay homage to one of the world’s most popular wines.
Everyone loves Pinot Noir because it’s so versatile. The varietal typically has lush fruit flavors and bright, juicy acidity that make it perfect to pair with lighter red meats (duck, lamb), white meats (pork, chicken, turkey), fuller flavored fish (salmon), and earthy vegetables and herbs (mushrooms, thyme). Basically, as long as the dish isn’t too dense or richly flavored, this wine goes with anything.
Pinot Noir is one of France’s oldest grapes, one of the best Burgundy has to offer. As it’s gained in admiration around the world, more and more winemakers have begun to covet it for its finesse and age-worthiness. Today, the countries that produce the finest Pinot Noir are France, and the United States (California, Oregon, and New York), as well as Switzerland, Germany, Austria, New Zealand, Australia, and Chile.
It is, however, notoriously finicky to grow. These black-skinned grapes (that’s what the “noir” refers to) thrive in a narrow range of cooler climates. The cooler the growing climate, the more delicate and light-bodied the finished wine will be; towards the warmer end, you get riper flavors and fuller-bodied wine. Too hot, and the prized acidity, delicacy, and finesse of these grapes disappear. (Read more here.)
When our founder, Brice Jones, first started planting Hallberg Ranch more than twenty years ago, he believed that he had finally found the ideal site to make California’s finest Pinot Noir and assembled the best team to realize his dream. To achieve this ambitious goal, we now cultivate two estate vineyards: Hallberg Ranch and Pinot Hill, both of which are dry farmed and certified sustainable. Our commitment to these farming and winemaking practices is evident in our wines—bursting with energy, flavors, and aromas.
Each of our Pinot Noirs will transport you to the place and time they were grown. As our founding winemaker, Don Blackburn, said, “The particular focus of our intent is to make a wine that has balance as a characteristic of greater importance than intensity; a wine whose vineyard character is of greater importance than varietal character.”
All wine starts in the vineyard. That is why being an Estate winery is so important to us; it allows for an attention to land, planting, and cultivation of Pinot Noir vines is second to none. We prize this especially because the right combination of soil and climate is crucial to the vineyard’s expression of terroir in the wine. We may not receive the summer rainfall of other regions to sustain the vines, but the unique soil of this area has a hidden store of water in the clay subsoil that allows us to dry farm, without artificial irrigation.
While you’re here, time to explore our website and learn more about our guiding philosophy of soil, climate, and people as well as how it shapes our farming, winemaking, and commitment to sustainability.