Heritage vs Dijon Comparing the Clones
Pinot Noir has one of the longest documented lineages of any grape variety, with all Pinot Noir plantings throughout the Sonoma Coast today genetically traced back to French origins. Despite the shared origins, however, these plantings have grown genetically diverse over years of cultivation across the globe.
Historically, new vineyards have been propagated by ‘field selection’ – growers identify vines from specific, optimum sites within their vineyard or region that have produced the highest-quality fruit, and take cuttings from this ‘parent’ to plant the new vines. Through this process of isolating the best-fit vines for the area, distinct clonal families have developed within Pinot Noir, with unique characteristics.
Dijon clones are currently widespread in United States winemaking, making up the vast majority of Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir vineyards. These clones are relative newcomers, though, being imported to the United States from France via Oregon State University in the 1980s. Dijon clones were isolated and selected in Burgundy for ability to ripen relatively early in the damp environment of the Côte d’Or. These Dijon Clones reached widespread favor with signature minerality, soft red and black fruit profile and retained acid. Warmer California environment creates a tendency for these clones to develop very rapid sugar accumulation, however, limiting growing potential and diminishing acid levels in warmer vineyard sites.
California heritage clones, known for their strong structure and robust, deep fruit qualities, have evolved over a century of California cultivation to well-suit the California coastline. Commonly named after the grower or specific vineyard of origin, California Heritage clones ideally ripen along the more moderate California coast, gradually ripening over a prolonged growing season to develop rich fruit of pronounced structure and abundant depth without the risk of sugar spikes expediting harvest and limiting flavor development.
Ideally situated on an elevated plateau and well protected from harsh winds and coastal fogs, our Boars’ View vineyard is a relatively warm coastal vineyard site. Winemaker Thomas Brown knew these conditions would be perfect to grow California Heritage clones of remarkable character, and planted the vineyard to an array of Calera, Mt. Eden and Swan heritage clones. The result has been nothing less than stunning, and we are thrilled to present wines rich in California Heritage character.