Ten years ago, we bought 40 acres of cow pasture and turned it into the vineyard we call the Brown Ranch. The name comes from the family that had owned it for more than a century. In 1991 we planted it to new Dijon selections of both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The first harvest at the Brown Ranch was 1995. As soon as we tasted the wines, we knew we had something remarkable on our hands. The Brown Ranch has turned out to be a wonderful site for both cultivars.
Because all of our vineyard lots are fermented and aged separately we are able to track their progress in the cellar as individual wine lots. From the Brown Ranch there are eight different lots: three different clones are grafted to different rootstocks on two different soil types.
The ranch has a combination of typical Carneros clay loams as well as some more volcanic soil types and steeper hillsides. Yields typically range from 3 to 4.5 tons/acre (45-65 hl/ha). Though each has unique character, overall, the eight lots from this ranch show more rich earthiness and black fruit than the more red fruit characters of other lots in our cellar.
Late in 1996, tasting through the barrels, we decided to blend and bottle by itself a small amount from the very best of these lots. This became our first bottling of the "Brown Ranch" Pinot Noir. The wine is offered in six-bottle wooden cases, with a new package design that pays tribute to George Saintsbury.
We look forward to continuing the tradition of this bottling honoring both our namesake and the vineyard so integral to the future quality of Saintsbury wines.