Pinot/Carneros Pioneer is Back
Once a pioneer, always a pioneer. Francis Mahoney is back with a new winery: Mahoney Vineyards.
Mahoney is perhaps the man most responsible for getting American Pinot Noir vintners to think about the impact of clones, those genetic variations of grape varieties that can the same variety to produce grapes of significantly different character.
Mahoney founded Carneros Creek Winery in 1972. Along with Walter Schug and others, Mahoney was a strong, early proponent of the Carneros appellation. But he was a curious man too. In the mid 1970s Mahoney worked with U.C. Davis to investigate the differences between Pinot Noir clones before anyone was very interested in the subject. His contention was that it might just be the clone, rather than the climate and soil, that led to mediocre Pinot Noir. Of course he was right.
He planted 20 different clones on this property, carefully vinifying each. In the end, he determined that no single Pinot Noir Clone produced stellar wine. But instead, it took a blend of clones to create a Pinot of great character…something that most winemakers today accept as gospel. Mahoney chose seven clones and went to work establishing his Carneros Creek Winery as a Carneros and Pinot Noir pioneer.
He would eventually sell his winery to Bill Hambrecht, venture capitalist and owner of Belevdere Winery.
Mahoney is back now with a new winery in Carneros that will produce Pinot Noir. But he’s got something else up his sleeve and in his vineyards this time.
Besides Pinot, Mahoney has planted Barbera, Dolcetto, Garnacha, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Tempranillo and Vermentino.
There is no website yet for Mahoney Vineyards. However, you’ll likely do well to keep a look out for the wine.
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