Experts estimate that there may be from 200 to over 1,000 unique selections (or “clones”) of Pinot Noir, a reflection of this varieties’ wild genetic instability. About 50 are certified in the French Ministry of Agriculture’s Catalogue of Grapevine Varieties and Clones, of which 15 are native to Burgundy, vine stock 667 among them. These were selected primarily for quality versus productivity.
667 is one of several Pinot Noir selections in Noble Vines’ Pinot Noir. We sought to honor this illustrious vine stock by matching it to places would flourish and offer its full complement of flavors. We chose the gentle slopes of the inspiring San Bernabe Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands, and Arroyo Seco AVA’s, all in Monterey County. These very cool, well-drained locations give the fruit concentration without too much ripeness. At San Bernabe in particular, the consistent, strong afternoon winds thicken the naturally thin Pinot Noir skins, lending even more color, flavor, and soft tannins to the wine.
667 is one of the “Dijon clones” which have recently come to California, joining the long-standing Pommard, Gamay, and Swan Pinot Noirs (which differ significantly in aromas, flavors, and texture). Thus, today’s California winemaker has many more options when it comes to this intriguing, multi-faceted grape variety. For Noble Vines, we blend 667 with a small amount of other clones like 115, which makes up in sublime aromatics what it lacks in structure.
Pinot Noir 667 forms tight compact clusters about the same size as clone 777, and is selected for age-worthiness over aromatics. It has much deeper color and more tannin than typical Pinot Noir, so one can expect wines with greater structure and concentration. Black fruit flavors of dark cherry and even blackberry predominate, with thick but soft tannins. In cooler areas notes of “Christmas spices” (allspice, nutmeg, clove) can develop.