Cal Poly 2008 Pinot Noir

Posted on November 2, 2010

I was fortunate enough to work as Cal Poly's student winemaker, in conjunction with mentor Christian Roguenant, to make the 2008 vintage of Cal Poly Wines. We produced a total of six wines: Chardonnay, Syrah, Mustang White, Mustang Red, Poly Royal dessert wine, and Pinot Noir. Each of these wines has won several medals in major wine competitions throughout California. You can read my production notes for these wines by following the link to a previous issue of Cal Poly's wine and viticulture magazine, The Cluster (pg. 5). I copied the production notes for the Pinot Noir below:


Just a few months after the 2008 harvest, the majority of Cal Poly's Pinot Noir (Block 2) was pulled up and replanted to decrease the vineyard's variable ripening conditions. When planning harvest, I decided to split the pick between two days to maximize fruit ripeness. The first half of Block II arrived on September 12th at 25.5 Brix, 3.61 pH, and 6.40 g/L TA. The remaining portion of Block II and Block IV arrived on September 26th at 26.3 Brix, 3.69 pH, and 6.43 g/L TA. My goal was to create a Pinot Noir that was more closely related to a Burgundian style: fruit forward with less oak and phenolic structure. I decided the best way to achieve this was via native yeast fermentation, so a majority of the fruit was allowed to undergo whole-berry fermentation on its own in a small, open-top fermentor. To increase complexity, a small portion was fermented in half-ton picking bins with RC-212. Once fermentation was complete, the must was gently pressed into barrels for eight months maturation. A combination of 30% new French and Hungarian oak, 20% one- and two-year old French oak, and 50% neutral barrels were used to create the last Pinot Noir from these vines. 


As discussed here in my previous post, this wine is currently available for sale only through the Gold Medal Wine Club, which bought out Cal Poly's stock to offer to its members and customers.

Related Articles


Cal Poly Wines

California Wine Regions

  • Edna Valley
  • Arroyo Grande Valley
  • Paso Robles
  • San Diego County
  • Napa Valley
  • California Vintage Notes
  • 2009 - Edna Valley
  • 2010 - Napa Valley
  • 2012 - Edna Valley

California Reviews

Winery - Cal Poly Wines

Location - San Luis Obispo, California

Wine - Cal Poly 2008 Pinot Noir

Grape Varieties - Pinot Noir

Appellation - San Luis Obispo

Alcohol - 14.3% v/v

Price -$30 USD


Nose/Aroma - Cherry and slightly floral.

Palate/Flavors - Black cherries and raspberries, cola, slight vanilla. Well balanced, medium acid structure without too much phenolics. Complex flavor profile that has good fruit and secondary characteristics.

Food Pairing - This is a food-friendly wine; try with some nice seared ahi tuna.

Comments - Of course, this can't be considered an unbiased review. Nevertheless, this is a really nice wine. Wild fermentation combined with choice Hungarian and French oak helped provide a great combination of flavors and texture.

  • Carpe Diem 2007 Pinot Noir
  • Surfrider 2007 Hang Ten Red
  • Robert Hall 2007 Paso Robles Merlot
  • Campion 2006 Edna Valley Pinot Noir
  • Tobin James 2004 Liquid Love
  • Tangent 2007 Edna Valley Sauvignon Blanc
  • Tolosa 2006 Edna Ranch Pinot Noir
  • Laetitia 2006 Brut de Blancs
  • Peachy Canyon 2004 Jester
  • More Reviews