2015 Holdredge Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Mazie Rose
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.
Each time I walked this vineyard before harvest, I was struck by how clearly it seemed to mirror the spirit of the harvest. In a vintage that proceeded at a magical pace, Mazie Rose spoke with a certainty that it would be ready when it was ready, and that it knew nature would cooperate. There was a tranquility about the place, but the spirit was intense.
This wine reflects that spirit. Of the various clones there, prior to harvest I thought the Pommard clone was going to be the backbone of the wine. In barrel, it absolutely delivered a wall of aromatics and flavors (macerated Montmorency pie cherries and black plums), with a plush back end. But as we went through blending trials, it was a little extra 777, that usually is only a very tiny portion of this wine, that seemed to capture the moment of the vintage.
This is absolutely ready to drink, and should easily provide another 6-7 years of primary evolution in bottle.