Camminare Noir and Paseante Noir Wines Use New Sustainable Grape Varieties
The family-owned winery got together with Dr. Andrew Walker of UC Davis as well as Dr. Paul Skinner of Vineyard Investigations in Napa Valley, to develop experimental grape varieties that are highly resistant to Pierce’s disease.
Pierce’s disease is caused by a bacterium spread by leafhopper insects called sharpshooters. It infects grape vines across the US and costs California grape growers more than $100 million per year.
“These varieties will hopefully make viticulture much more sustainable and provide a high-quality wine that the industry will welcome,” UC Davis’ Walker said.
According to Whitehall Lane owner Katie Leonardini, “rather than trying to manage the sharpshooter with insecticides and potentially harming other beneficial insects, these new rootstocks dovetail into our sustainable and green practices. And the wine is outstanding too!”
The result is these two new wines.
Whitehall Lane bottled the 2019 Camminare Noir and 2019 Paseante Noir wines as single, distinct varietals. These grapes from the winery’s Oak Glen Vineyard were harvested on October 15, 2019.
Winemaker Jason Moulton kept the two small lots separate saying, “it was amazing how distinct these two wines were from color to flavor to texture. As they developed in our custom American oak barrels, it was evident that these were excellent stand-alone wines.”
The special American oak barrels were designed by Nadalie Cooperage in Calistoga, CA to specifically suit the characteristics of these new American wines.
The Camminare Noir profile is a cross between Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon and the wine has aromas and flavors of blackberries, raspberries, cherries and a dense tannin profile. The Paseante Noir is a combination of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Cabernet Sauvignon and delivers flavors of cassis, coffee, and berry. Fewer than 25 cases of each were made and are available at the winery.
Whitehall Lane planted the two rootstocks in 2016 in their Oak Glen Vineyard. Dr. Walker, professor of viticulture and enology at UC Davis, developed the rootstock, creating grape varieties that provide high-quality wine while elevating the level of sustainable grape growing.
“Whitehall Lane was constantly replanting dead vines infected by Pierce’s disease,” said Dr. Skinner. “I knew the Oak Glen vineyard was a perfect location for Walker’s experimental varieties.”
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