Cargasacchi Vineyard is located just
off Sweeney Road at the far western edge of the Sta.
Rita Hills appellation. The soil type is the Botella
Series, a composition of both clay and loam that has
a fairly high calcareous content, which drains well
and helps moderate yields. The twelve acres are all
planted to Clone 115 Pinot Noir on two different rootstocks
- 3309C and 420A. Please read
Peter's explanation of his selection of clone and rootstocks
Most of the fruit from the vineyard
is contracted to fellow winemakers, and only a small
portion is reserved for Cargasacchi wines. Following
are some observations from our winery clients:
Overlooking the western Santa Ynez
River, Cargasacchi vineyard is located on a south-facing
slope of the Santa Rita Hills range. Low in nutrients
and poorly suited for traditional coastal agriculture,
the lean soils derive upslope from weathered and eroded
parent materials consisting of an uplifted Miocene period
seabed. This marine sedimentary rock formation forms
the dorsal spine of the Sta. Rita Hills.
Over millennia the upslope weathering
and erosion have created an ancient alluvial fan on
which the Cargasacchi vineyard is planted. The soil
materials consist of calcareous botella clay inter-bedded
with a high percentage of decomposing calcareous shale
fragments throughout the soil profile.
soils are extraordinarily high in free lime at 8.2 pH
and nearly 8,000-ppm calcium, but perfectly suited for
Pinot Noir with moderate water holding capacity and
a fabulous vineyard. The growers go to endless pains,
and the talented winemakers at Loring rose to the occasion..."
Wine Enthusiast on the Loring Wine Company
2006 Cargasacchi Vineyard Pinot Noir
& ROOTSTOCK SELECTIONS
Cargasacchi Vineyard, in terms of
plant material selection, was planted using a counterintuitive
approach. Rather than a group of clones, planting was
to a single, very highly regarded selection from the
Cote de Nuits, the limestone ridge in the northern part
of the Cote d’Or.
In Burgundy, this particular clonal
selection is looked upon as the “complete”
clone because of its ability to produce wines of both
intense aromatics and flavor. Rather than attempting
to achieve complexity through a blend of multiple clones,
the Cargasacchi vineyard was planted with this “complete”
clone that produces rich, balanced wines alone.
The unique difference is that this
very alluring, single clone of pinot noir was planted
onto two dissimilar rootstocks of different parentage,
with both rootstocks, tending to express and influence
for different but interesting wine characteristics.
One rootstock tending to influence for red fruit and
brighter, fruitier character, and the other rootstock
tending to influence towards a darker, blue-purple fruit
and earth character.
Synergy is the whole, becoming greater
than the sum of its parts. The goal is for the ultimate
wine to be an expression of vineyard synergy.
Not generally common knowledge in
California, but part of traditional European viticultural
lore, is the understanding that as the result of rootstock
influence on grapevine growth habit, rootstock choices
influence for different wine expression.
Because of phylloxera, intensive rootstock
breeding programs began in Europe in the late 1800’s.
The rootstock crosses were primarily from 3 native-American
Vitis species, resulting in 3 main rootstock families.
Selected for resistance to phylloxera,
rooting ability and grafting ability, the numerous rootstocks
within each family of crosses, tend to have additional
differences and affinities whose expression can be site
specific. These differences range but are not limited
to rooting depth, vigor, drought tolerance, nutrient
uptake, as well as sensitivity to temperature, latitude,
day length and season length. The behavior of Rootstock
can change depending on the site.
The longer we observe rootstocks,
the better we understand the unique relationships that
vary their performance in the vineyard environment.
These very complex relationships include the different
influences described, and sometimes can even vary between
different grafted clones of the same wine grape variety.
The rootstocks planted at Cargasacchi
are 420A and 3309C.
420A is a shallow rooting, limestone
tolerant rootstock that is a cross of Vitis Berlandieri
and V. Riparia. It is believed that this rootstock family
and especially this specific rootstock can and tend
to, express brighter and more red-fruited character
in Pinot Noir.
This is influenced by shallow rooting
and earlier ripening. As the result of shallower roots,
420A tends to begin the growing season relatively early,
since the upper soil horizons tend to warm up earlier
in springtime, thereby inducing bud-break.
In addition, this rootstock tends
to have smaller and more numerous roots. There is a
greater ratio of root surface in relation to total root
mass, which allows 420A to uptake soil water and nutrients
more quickly. Thus, in a state of water deficit sooner
in the growing season, it begins its ripening trajectory
in the early summer rather than later.
3309C, a member of the V. Riparia and V. Rupestris crosses
family, tends to produce a deeper and well-branched
root system, but is not very tolerant of limestone.
Rather than a problem, the limestone intolerance becomes
a useful throttle and one of the tools used to manage
the vine, as the free lime causes 3309C to express lower
vigor and limits the ability to uptake various cations/nutrients
in the soil profile. The effect of pH and limestone
on this rootstock allows us to walk the razor’s
edge, (retrospectively, in the first few vintages perhaps
a little too closely.)
In spring, the deeper roots tend to
take longer to warm up and induce bud-break. All things
being equal in terms of soil depth, soil mass and nutrient
status, 3309C is perceptibly several days behind the
420A at bud-break.
the result of exploring deeper soil horizons and a larger
volume of soil, it tends to ripen somewhat slower as
well, because of greater water availability. The 3309C
is planted on soil that is only 2.5 to 3 feet deep,
overlaying a fractured layer of marl and limestone shale.
Despite limestone intolerance, the 3309C appears to
be better able to extract water in August and September,
that is less available to the more limestone tolerant
but shallower rooted 420A.
In addition to potentially being influenced
by later ripening, the expression of higher tannin and
darker fruit character appears to partially derive in
part from the more open and limited canopies that develop
with this rootstock. In the Cargasacchi vineyard, the
3309C vine’s internode distance, (distance between
where leaves attach to the cane,) is slightly longer
than on the 420A. This results in more sunlight striking
the fruit and appears to result in more tannin as a
result, though this is in addition to canopy management
and leaf pulling directed for the same purpose.
NOIR CLONE, DIJON 115
The clone, what is generally referred
to in California and Oregon as Dijon 115, was originally
selected from a vineyard in Morey St Denis, between
Gevrey-Chambertin and Vougeot.
The tiny region of Cote de Nuits,
France is home to the greatest names of red Burgundy.
Because of the similar calcareous clay soils, it was
the commonsense source to look towards for scion material.
(Scion wood is the fruitful, propagative plant material
grafted on top of the rootstock, the clonal selection
As described above this selection
is considered a complete clone, because alone, it produces
balanced, rich, dark wines. The following excerpted
information is derived from the ENTAV International
Catalogue for Pinot Noir Clone 115:
Organoleptic characteristics of
the wine: strong colour with a purplish hue, superior
bouquet, elegant rich aroma typical of its type, a hint
of small fruits, well structured, tannic, long, suitable
for keeping. Locations: it is particularly good in Pinot
locations (chalky soil - gravel or stones, well drained
with good exposure).
The particular plant material used
at Cargasacchi Vineyard was the result of relationships
between Oregon State University (OSU) working with the
Office National Interprofessionnel des Vins (ONIVINS)
in Dijon, France and the Station de Reserches Viticoles
et Oenologiques, (INRA) in Colmar, France. OSU imported
13 French Pinot Noir clones between 1987 and 1992 that
were “public” as distinguished from the
trademarked counterparts authorized by Etablissement
National Technique pour l’Amélioration
de la Viticulture, (ENTAV.) Six of these clones, including
this French 115, came to Foundation Plant Material Services
at UC Davis (FPS) and after quarantine were registered
and made available for California viticulture. The corresponding
FPS number for the 115 selection in California is FPS