2014 Holdredge Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Mazie Rose
The "voice of a small place"
I know this vineyard better than any other I work with. I bought the small farmhouse in the mid-90s, took over an existing Syrah vineyard which I later converted to Pinot. A big chunk of my wine history took place there- I already was making wine with friends, but in this place I grew grapes, made wine, met my wife and got married and eventually we lived there. I feel close to all the vineyards I work with; this one I feel most connected to.
The vineyard is tiny; about 1 1/3 acres in all. It sits on a bench above the Santa Rosa plain, but is actually nestled in a low area on that bench. As a result, it stays cooler as a result (cool air is heavier); it warms later and cools earlier each day- not a lot, but it makes a difference, The Daffodils at the corner, about 400 yards away flower about ten days earlier than the daffs at this property.
The vineyard is underlain by a soil called “Huichica” (Wah-cheek-ah) which is a loam with some clay. This place is distinctive for also having a significant amount of pea gravel throughout it (residue of when all this was ocean floor and as the waters receded the gravel was left behind in this lower spot), thus presenting the anomaly of well-drained clay soils.
I initially planted Pommard clone when I put in the Pinot, and added a small block of clones 115, 667 and 777, as well as a small block of clone 828 (one of the earlier plantings in California. More recently, a small amount of clone 943 has been added; it’s really a very nice selection of clones for this cool site. My biggest learning about winegrowing came at this place, and some of the best days of my life in many ways.
When this wine was almost done fermenting, I made the decision to fine it with the lees (dead yeast cells) of another wine (the “Judgment tree from the Rochioli Sweetwater Vineyard). I just wanted to coax a little more creaminess out of it; and see if I could get it a little rounder. That decision left a big imprint on the wine; it is unbelievably round and polished- front to back- “seamless” was Carri’s comment.
There is a savory character to the wine; it has plenty of fruit- especially strawberries and bright cherries, but it also conveys a bit of the wild pennyroyal that grows throughout the vineyard; a savory note that really adds a fascinating dimension to the wine. It does have a nice level of weight, bit the acidity is really quite dazzling, and it’s a very complete wine.
Cases produced: 50