Acacia’s Path to Compelling Pinot Noir

The reputation Pinot Noir suffers for its fickle behavior has supported the prevailing wisdom among winemakers that deprivation in the vineyard followed by gentleness in the cellar results in a delicate, well-balanced wine. Acacia respects these Burgundian traditions but diverges from the Old-World techniques. The fact that we grow grapes in California’s ideal climate means we must rewrite the rules. If we were to use strict Burgundian methods in Carneros, we would end up with wine that is vegetative, light in color and in taste.

Acacia’s grapes, and those we acquire from our neighbors for our Single Vineyard Selection Pinot Noirs, are treated with the utmost respect and gentle handling—at least in the vineyard. We believe vines deserve and need water to produce the most flavorful grapes. If grapes don’t get the proper amount of water and care during ripening, they’ll shut down to conserve energy, offering only a tiny fraction of their true character and allure.

Now, here is another point where we are at odds with the traditional thinking. Once our well-cared-for Pinot Noir grapes are plucked, we turn into disciplined taskmasters, employing cellar practices that might be criticized as heavy-handed for this delicate variety. Phooey.

It’s not that we don’t still respect the grapes. We just know that—like children—they need guidance to reach their full potential. Once the candidates reach the winery, we take control of their destiny, instilling respect for their heritage while encouraging expression: it’s something of a hippie military academy.

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