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    Los Angeles Times

    Los Angeles Times

    LA Times: Wines elements of change: soil, clones, stems and more: by S. Irene Virbila


    Some of the elements that go into creating the tone or voice of the wine, according to Melville Vineyards winemaker Greg Brewer.

    The soil: Sandier soils lead to Pinot Noirs that are more feminine, with high-toned aromatics and delicacy. Clay-based soils offer more power, richness and density.

    Clonal selection: Different clones of Pinot Noir have different characters, like different instruments in the same family. Clone 115 could be a violin, clone 114 a viola, for example. But then there’s the variation introduced by growing that clone in different soils. Brewer would say that’s comparable to the difference in sound when a particular violinist plays the same theme on his or her particular instrument. It’s a matter of tone.

    The ripeness: Grapes picked early in the harvest, generally speaking, are less ripe and more acidic, so offer energy, youthfulness, snap and verve as a brush stroke. Later-picked grapes offer more weight, more richness, more sensuality, more decadence.

    Stem inclusion: The varying levels of stem inclusion contribute yet another cross-section of diversity. In pastry and desserts, the sweetness can be reined back by a savory element. And it’s the same thing with stem inclusion. It can rein in or mitigate the decadent nature of later-season fruit.

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