The 2017 Own-Rooted Pinot Noir
Phylloxera has stayed in modern history as the absolute plague of viticulture. At all times did vintners have to face natural catastrophes, but none has been as destroying as phylloxera. Vines struck by the bug died within a few years, surviving only at the cost of dangerous, expensive, and not very effective treatments. The problem came from America, but the solution also: native vines there had been in contact with the insect for centuries and had developed a resistance. The solution was then clear: grafting the traditional, well-known European varieties (chardonnay pinot, merlot, cabernet, etc …), that would yield their traditional fruit, on naturally resistant American vines, that would offer them their roots.
It was a matter of life or death and although some well-known properties kept their old vines as long as they could (in Burgundy a great part of Clos Vougeot until 1920, Romanée-Conti until 1945), for fear of altering the character of their wines, in the end, it was not sustainable. Still today, tasters and vintners alike cannot help wondering about what the wine would be like without the « filter » of the rootstock.
Well, we offer you the possibility of judging by yourself. In 2017 we produced a new wine for Nicolas-Jay, the Own-Rooted Pinot Noir - composed of Hyland, Bishop Creek and Nysa Vineyards, all planted before 1990, and all sitting on their own roots. Is the quality of this wine, pure, well concentrated yet slightly lean, due to the absence of rootstock and the « direct » link between the fruit and the earth ? Or is it more simply because the wines come from older vineyards, giving naturally more concentrated fruit, with a distinctive character ? In both cases, this is excellent juice, we love it and greatly encourage you to try it !