2015 Holdredge Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Petits Cadeaux
All wines are defined by place, but there are times that thoughtful farming can take a place to higher levels. This wine is from the Maratella Vineyard, which is owned by Benovia Winery, and overseen by my friend Mike Sullivan, a part owner and winemaker at Benovia.
The vineyard sits west of Santa Rosa, on a higher portion of the Laguna Bench. The soil series is a heavier clay series (“Huachica”), which can, depending on other factors, grow phenomenal Pinot. When farmed with a skilled hand, these soils can produce dark, powerful wines that retain a very focused core. One need only look at certain neighboring vineyards to see the difference in attention to farming detail, and the resulting wines show those same differences.
Mike planted the clones a winemaker would love, including some stuff that just isn’t around anywhere to speak of. The backbone of this wine is from a strain of Pinot originally from Chambertain. It produces tiny clusters, each of which easily nestles in the palm of your hand. These tiny clusters have tiny berries- so there is a lot of skin relative to juice- and skin is where all the good stuff like flavor and color comes from.
These grapes are like “little gifts” to a winemaker to work with, hence the name “Petits Cadeaux”