The summer 2008 wildfires in Sonoma County have claimed another victim: Marcassin Pinot Noir.
The winery has decided not to release its 2008 vintage, it announced in its latest newsletter. "We are passing on the 2008 Pinot Noirs," wrote John Wetlaufer, who owns the Sonoma winery with his wife, winemaker Helen Turley.
Wildfires burned along the North Coast for most of the summer in 2008 and many wineries, most from Sonoma Coast and Anderson Valley in Mendocino, were victims of the heavy smoke.
Some wineries have sold their 2008s; many declassified them. Others tried filtration. Most winemakers took the wait-and-see approach, tasting their wines in bottle in hopes the smoke taint might dissipate. I've met a few people who liked the smokiness.
The loss of an entire vintage is a financial hit for small wineries. Marcassin's Pinot sells for $125 and it typically makes several hundred cases.
Wetlaufer said the winery's 2008s were marred by "atypical and exogenous smokiness attributable to the early summer brush and forest fires centered in the Anderson Valley," north of Sonoma.