2010 Kazmer & Blaise "Primo's Hill" Pinot Noir
With Kazmer & Blaise Pinot Noir 2010, the aromas are dominated by bright red fruits, although it is hard to say whether raspberry, plum or pomegranate takes the lead. The 2010 is marked by a firm handshake and eye-catching gaze. I am what I am, is what it says. The beguiling smoke and mystery of previous vintages is replaced with poise and posture.
Our vineyard was planted by Peter Kazmer Molnar’s family in 1973. Primo’s Hill is a magical seven-acre hillside nestled within Poseidon’s Vineyard in the Carneros appellation of Napa. Carneros soils began as the bed under San Pablo Bay—the silt of marine plants and animals decomposing over time, integrating with the finest particles of eroded rock, became clay. This dark and heavy soil comprises most of the vineyard land in Carneros, but as the Bay retreated and the drainage of Napa and Sonoma Valley cut through the clay, deposits of pebbles accumulated on the embankments. It is one such gravelly patch that lies under our vineyard, which makes for better drainage and reduces soil compaction to allow deeper root penetration. With its roots seeking nutrients and water below the clay layer, the vine expresses its circumstance by producing grapes with unique and delightful flavors.
As a post-drought vintage the growing season began with plenty of water in the soils. It was stunning to see it rain in June here in Napa, but rain it did. The summer was dramatically foggy and cool and inspired comments from all of us—old-timers included—that this was like no summer anyone had ever seen (little did we know we would see it repeat itself again in 2012). Although a nail-biter to the end, the grapes ripened, and they did so on a prolonged schedule. The warmth of September, although typical, was very welcome after such a cool season.
Our winemaking approach is informed by Burgundian tradition but tailored to the unique fruit of our vineyard and to the Carneros climate. Farming and winemaking in California have evolved to accommodate the generous growing conditions in which the grapes thrive. Where Californian winemaking previously emulated the techniques that suited the cooler climate of Burgundy, we have recently redefined tradition. Both in the vineyard and cellar, our approach acknowledges and embraces the differences between Old and New World.
Michael Blaise Terrien, Winemaker