A varietally-correct, sub-$25 Pinot Noir from California is the unicorn everyone’s been hunting. It may be the hardest wine to do well here, and until “discovering” some exciting vineyard opportunities in the Potter Valley AVA, we’d given up on trying to put one to bottle. In 2017, we produced 1,000 cases and “tested” it in a few markets. It quickly sold out to a roster of primo restaurants (James Beard winners, Michelin starred, AAA accounts, etc.) who lustily poured it by the glass. In 2018, we increased our take from both the Anderson Valley and Potter Valley, and blended up a wine that resonates with place (Mendo County) and vintage (2018, which some are calling ‘the best of their careers as vintners’). This wine is reminiscent of a warm-vintage Irancy or Sancerre Rouge with a racy, sleek frame backing flavors of pomegranate, fresh-picked berries, and something woodsy via the 10% whole clusters. Unlike other wines in this peer group which fell apart on day two, our Mendo Pinot has the bones to deliver the goods 3+ days after pulling the cork.
Fruit was harvested under ideal conditions in mid-Sept. All lots were fermented in open top tanks (10% whole cluster). Cap management occurred during the 12-16 day fermentations. Aged for 10 months in stainless steel and used French oak barrels.
A selection of premier Mendocino County vineyards were selected for this wine, with an emphasis on dry-farming, older vines, and sustainable viticulture. Pinot Noir clones 115, 667, 777, 2A, 838, Pommard clone, and Martini play a part in the blend. The goal was to capture the unique character of this region defined by the proximate Pacific Ocean, coastal redwoods, and river valleys.