2016 Holdredge Russian River Pinot Noir Rolling Thunder
This vineyard sits atop the third ridge in from the Pacific just outside of Occidental. The soils are the “Goldridge” series, always a favorite among Pinot producers. This sits toward the southern end of the “true” Sonoma Coast appellation- and because of the altitude (Some 850 feet), it generally sits above the heaviest fog, but still gains the cooling benefit of the fog, as well as cool air which comes up through Coleman Valley. So, it is site that offers full sun but moderate temperatures- which allows us to seek a riper flavor profile.
We take both Pommard clone and clone 828 from here, generally picked 7-10 days apart (828 first). This backbone if this wine is primarily the Pommard, with enough 828 added to take us where we think it shows best. The vineyard is meticulously farmed by our friend Jim Riddle, and to say he is “obsessive” about quality is an understatement. We were the first winery to make a wine from this vineyard, and love it for how it consistently conveys the impact of mountain grown fruit.
We’ve often talked about this being a mountain grown wine and the impact the site has on this wine. Year in and out, the challenge is managing the tannins. 2016 was a year with tremendous structure, and if there is one thing I have learned about tannins in Pinot, it is to embrace them. Some wineries go through all sorts of manipulations to reduce tannins, but I’ve found that while at times the wines can take a bit longer to go past their awkward stage, but when they open up, they are really impressive. I also think tannins help a wine age well, and with bigger foods they stand up even better.
True to its name and place, this is a very ripe, almost dense wine that is all about power. A dramatic nose carries dark fruit aromatics carry the wine, and the richness is palate-coating from front to back. But for me, the grip the wine carries is what sets it apart- it is at once masculine yet smooth, but what really stands out is all that power. I absolutely loved this wine in tank before we bottled it, and the massive tannin profile nicely frames up nice tones of super-black cherries, dark berries, and a hint of licorice root. Those youthful tannins will resolve, so for now, a short decanting before serving tames them considerably, leaving it with a very fine texture, and rich flavors. It is a wine I’ll look forward to enjoying over the long haul. It will easily pair with the biggest dishes you’ll cook- and practically cries out for a steak with herb butter. 150 cases made. $50.00 bottle