This year, Darms Lane is working with a new Pinot Noir vineyard source, Goff-Whitton Vineyard. Last night, Dutton Ranch (the owners of the vineyard) harvested the 1.4 acre block for Darms Lane. Goff-Whitton is a 26 acre, sustainably farmed vineyard located just west of Gravenstein Highway, near the town of Graton. Last night I joined an amazing crew of fast picking men that quickly worked its way through 15 rows; the pick started at 2AM and wrapped up less than two hours later.
Darms Lane, located in the Oak Knoll AVA in Napa Valley, grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot on their Bon Passe Vineyard. Larry Bump, the owner of Darms Lane, loves Pinot Noir, so they always make a small amount of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Brian Mox, the winemaker at Darms Lane, worked many vintages at Etude, so he is well-versed in Pinot Noir. 2015 is the first vintage using Goff-Whitton fruit; it will be blended with Confidant Vineyard in Green Valley to make a Russian River Valley appellation wine.
The Dutton family farms an impressive 1,100 acres of vineyard land spanning 74 vineyards in Sonoma County. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the predominant varietals grown in the vineyards. Goff-Whitton is planted entirely to Pinot Noir, and the Darms Lane block (located in the southeastern quadrant of the vineyard) is planted to Pommard Clone and Clone 113.
This was an exciting, fast-paced pick, and the harvested fruit looked beautiful, very healthy in appearance. It was an extremely well-lit pick (under a waning crescent moon), which meant I never fired my flash once! Five separate tractors across the rows kicked up an enormous amount of dust, which under the lights provided some mystery to the images. I'm looking forward to tasting 2015 Darms Lane Pinot Noir in a few years!