VISUAL: Densely colored, ruby with purple tones
AROMAS: Black cherry, raspberry, vanilla bean, and subtle cherry wood
FLAVORS: Restrained fruit tending toward strawberry, with cocoa, bay leaf, and blackberry hints
STRUCTURE AND MOUTHFEEL: Robust tannins, persistent on the finish
With multiple research, teaching and consulting careers behind them, Glen and Pamela Gunsalus set out to plant a 10-acre hillside vineyard located west of Graton in Sonoma County’s Green Valley of Russian River Valley AVA. Their goals were to plant the right vines in the best location, make the vineyard sustainable, preserve their land and environment, and maintain good wildlife habitat.
Located on the northwest side of Mount Pisgah and bordered to the north by Green Valley Creek, Gunsalus Vineyard varies in elevation from 180 to 300 feet above sea level with west to northwest facing slopes averaging 15 percent. Throughout the vineyard there are multiple microclimates where temperatures can vary 4 – 10 degrees from the top to the bottom of the vineyard with the bottom blocks having the widest swings. A central weather station continuously monitors and records air temperature, humidity, wind velocity and rainfall. Soil moisture is influenced by several underground springs/water flows. Gunsalus Vineyard has been planted to four Dijon Pinot Noir clones—667, 777, 115 and 114—on two low/moderate vigor rootstocks—Riparia Gloire and MG 101-14—to match the well-drained, Sebastopol loam and Goldridge sandy loam soils and moisture levels.
2014 had a relatively mild summer - from veraison to harvest, the average temperature for days was 80F and 55F in the nights. Fortunately there were no late August heat spikes which pushes the sugars up before the grapes develop the desired fl avor components, and exhibit the physical properties that winemakers use as benchmarks for maturity and harvest readiness.