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DeLoach Vineyards Releases First Vintage of Wines from Marin County

27 June, 2011

Russian River, CA -  DeLoach Vineyards, a pioneering producer of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel in the Russian River Valley, has released its first vintage of wines from Marin County. The four Marin wines, all 2009 vintage, include: Stubbs Vineyard Pinot Noir ($40), Stubbs Vineyard Chardonnay ($35), Skyview Pinot Noir ($40), and the Marin County Pinot Noir ($35), a blend of the four vineyards that comprise DeLoach’s Marin commitment.

A few years ago, Proprietor Jean-Charles Boisset, who is known for blazing trails of innovation in the wine world, recognized the distinctive climate and growing conditions of Marin County’s varied and unique terroir.  After tasting a Pinot Noir from the Devil's Gulch Ranch made by long-time Marin pioneer Dan Goldfield, Boisset immediately appreciated the wine’s strong focus and bright acidity, qualities reminiscent of the Burgundy Pinot Noirs of his homeland.  The next week, Boisset, Goldfield and DeLoach Winemaker Brian Maloney explored Marin’s diverse vineyards, tucked behind ridges and in valleys well-protected from the cold winds of the Pacific Ocean. Inspired by Goldfield’s passion, Boisset and Maloney were quickly convinced of the nascent region’s potential to become an appellation of distinction for passionate cool-climate Pinot Noir devotees seeking bright, structured wines with great acidity, finesse and elegance. They committed DeLoach’s distinguished winemaking regimen to achieving the great potential of Marin wines.

Albeit a cottage industry compared to neighboring Sonoma and Napa counties, winemaking in Marin County dates back to the early 1800s, initially brought to the area by the San Rafael Mission. It is one of the coolest AVAs in California, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean to the West and San Pablo Bay to the East, though winter temperatures are typically warmer than Napa and Sonoma because of the moderating influence of these bodies of water and the area’s heavy seasonal precipitation. Cool springs and summers lead to long hang times; the longer growing season helps create wines with balance, natural acidity, and lower alcohol levels. These conditions portend Marin County’s potential to be one of the finest wine regions in California, particularly for cool-climate varietals like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, specialties of DeLoach.

“Like other great appellations, there is wonderful detail within Marin that is represented in the vineyards that we have chosen to work with,” said Goldfield.  DeLoach Vineyards has four different sites in Marin County from which they are now producing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The organically-farmed Stubbs Vineyard is located in a narrow valley that opens to the south and is the closest to Tomales Bay. It is divided by a seasonal creek that helps drain the area of cold air during the frost season and acts as a channel for cold air and fog through the vineyard, making it one of the coldest sites for non-sparkling Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Marin. The wines from Stubbs Vineyards are more delicate than warmer climate sites and have a distinct elegance. The Chileno Valley Vineyard is located northeast of Stubbs, and varies dramatically from its neighbor. It is surrounded to the west and south by ridges that protect it from the coldest air of the Petaluma Gap and Tomales Bay. Oriented on a slope with undulations through the vineyard blocks, its climate is akin to the central Russian River Valley. Acid levels in fruit from this site are relatively low, a marked contrast to the rest of the fruit from the appellation. The next site, the Azaya Vineyard, is in Hicks Valley, south of Stubbs and on the opposite side of the dividing ridge. Cooler than Chileno Valley, this young site has unharnessed potential to grow grapes with pure flavors and textures. The last site, which becomes DeLoach’s Skyview Pinot Noir, is located on a southeast facing hilltop. It is the most isolated site from the Pacific Ocean and has varied, distinct vineyard blocks. Its higher elevation acts as a moderating influence, producing dark-colored fruit of intense concentration, while its location further inland gives it a warmer growing season than more coastal Marin vineyards. These four sites in Marin County’s different terrain exemplify the versatile conditions in which the DeLoach winemaking team thrives and explores the area’s remarkable potential.

“Marin will become prominent as a unique area among the cognoscenti, the sommeliers and true passionate Pinot devotees, much like Fort Ross or the true Sonoma Coast,” said Goldfield., “Boisset and DeLoach will have a lot to do with helping that happen and bringing the area to a wider audience of influencers.”

DeLoach Vineyards’ Marin County wines continue the winery’s focus on small-lot, site-specific wines that aim to beautifully capture distinct terroirs. “We are proud to be one of the pioneering producers in Marin County. The wines that we are making are exactly as we had hoped—wonderfully expressive of this exceptionally unique appellation,” said Maloney.

“DeLoach has always been a Pinot Noir pioneer in Northern California and our commitment to Marin energizes and highlights our passion for producing small-lot wines expressive of their inimitable terroir,” said Boisset. Case production for the DeLoach Vineyards Marin wines is limited, with Stubbs Vineyard Pinot Noir at 48 cases (consumer direct only), Stubbs Vineyard Chardonnay at 250 cases,  Skyview Pinot Noir at 240 cases, and the Marin County Pinot Noir at 780 cases.

About DeLoach Vineyards
DeLoach Vineyards has been a pioneering producer of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Zinfandel in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley since 1975. DeLoach seeks to produce exceptional wines that spotlight the singular personality of the Russian River Valley, with its rare and bountiful convergence of the sea, the soil and the stars. The Boisset family of Burgundy purchased DeLoach in 2003, bringing the techniques and approaches of Burgundy to its winemaking in the Russian River Valley, which they believed to be California’s most expressive terroir for cultivating Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  Under Boisset, DeLoach has grown its small-lot vineyard designate wine program, converted to organic and Biodynamic® farming practices, and implemented traditional Burgundian winemaking techniques such as open-top wood fermentors, native yeast fermentations, and hand punch-downs.  Wine & Spirits magazine named DeLoach Vineyards a Top 100 Winery for the tenth time in the winery’s history in 2009.   Located at 1791 Olivet Road in Santa Rosa, the DeLoach Vineyards tasting room, picnic area and organic garden are open to the public daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 p.m.

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