Heading into the holidays, we are thrilled to be offering four of our remaining Pinots from the near-legendary 2015 vintage. They all express differently, they are all drinking beautifully, but all have the structure to age. From bright red fruit, to dark black aromatics, these will be able to pair with the full range of holiday foods- there is literally a wine here for everything (except dessert!). In terms of the joy of the experience, 2015 is one of my two all-time favorite harvests. I hope the wonderful emotional journey we experienced that special year is conveyed in part through these wines. Have a great holiday season!
Holdredge 2015 “The True” Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir- New Release!
Only 56 cases made.
$50 ($42.50 club members)
2015 brought a very small crop for the Sonoma Coast appellation – we were down almost 80%. In this vineyard, we had barely a ton of grapes from both pieces of the vineyard we take each year. As a result, we have we only were able to bottle just over 50 cases of this wine. If there is a “silver lining”, it’s that while there’s only a very small amount of this wine, nature saw to it that what we got was excellent.
Despite the early start to harvest, this fruit hung until late September, thanks to very cool temperatures out there. As I walked the vineyard in the weeks leading to the pick, there wasn’t a drop-off in acid levels, so there was no need to pick. The flavors consistently kept evolving towards a darker profile, but with an underlying layer of classic red fruit, something that stayed consistent to the end. The wine shows that same evolution, it is undeniably dark and structured, but with a touch of red fruit and the vibrant acidity that cold site preserves. This will pair well with heavier dishes, and should age upwards of 8 years without difficulty, but I’m thinking the best of it will be now and over the next four years.
Holdredge 2015 “Bucher Vineyard” Russian River Valley Pinot Noir - New Release!
Only 98 cases made.
$50 ($42.50 club members)
We speak of how the voice of place remains constant, but each vintage is shaped by time. A great example was from the 2014 vintage; while there was the familiar undercurrent of Bucher, it spoke with a very different (and dark) voice. It was very popular, but somewhat controversial in how it stood apart from past wines from this vineyard. With the 2015 vintage, Bucher returns to the aromatic and flavor profile I’ve come to expect.
The hallmark of Bucher has always been aromatics of lifted red fruit, framed by rose petals. This wine fits that to its core. The aromatics are dominated by ripe cranberries and strawberries, and a very distinct note of rose petal. It has a very full palate, but for all the fruit, the wine still carries enough acid and a tiny bit of super fine tannin to carry the finish for a good while. This wine is ready for drinking now, and should continue to develop for at least 6 more years.
Holdredge 2015 “Mazie Rosé” Russian River Valley Pinot Noir - New Release!
Only 73 cases made.
$50 (Club Price: $42.50)
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 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.
Holdredge 2015 “Selection Massale” Russian River Valley Pinot Noir - New Release!
Only 52 cases made.
$50 (Club Price: $42.50)
This vineyard has always produced a lighter, red-fruit driven wine. Over the years, that’s ranged from very light and delicate, to medium body with fine tannins. I tend to wait for tannin development, so this vineyard has been one of the last wines we pick most years. In 2015, this was one of the last wines we picked, and yet, it had higher acid and lower sugars than wines we had already picked.
The wine has been a surprise; when we first pressed it after fermentation, and early in its barrel life, I wondered if might be too delicate. But it gained a tremendous amount of weight as we raised it, every time I tasted through the barrels this wine just seemed to change the most day to day. By bottling, it had become a very well-defined wine, and while not “powerful” also isn’t really delicate.
It is undeniably lighter in color than many of our wines (it should be- that’s the place speaking), yet it’s got plenty of weight and depth. Red fruits dominate the nose; I keep thinking of dark strawberries and a touch of rhubarb, and a fine note of baking spice. This is always a wine that takes time to show its very best- so while you can absolutely drink it now, even a few months will make a huge difference. I expect the peak of this wine to be over the next 7-9 years.
John & Carri Holdredge
With this release, we unleash one more 2014 Pinot. This shipment also marks the release of a wine from our other brand –OSCURO which is devoted to wines made from grapes of noble Italian lineage. Did we save the best for last? You be the judge. We loved this vintage and we love these wines, we hope you do too.
This was our third year to get fruit from the Rochioli “Sweetwater” Vineyard on Westside Road, southwest of Healdsburg (about ¼ mile south of the Bucher Vineyard). Anyone who knows me knows how special I feel this place is; and how fortunate I feel to be one of the very few winemakers to get to work with fruit from this vineyard, which is almost entirely Rochioli “West Block” clone.
The 2014 bears a strong resemblance to ‘12 and ‘13, except in two ways. First, the flavor profile of the fruit is darker and deeper. This came about because I was striving for more tannin ripeness (the “west Block” clone tends towards a bigger tannic profile), so I let the fruit remain a touch longer than I had in prior years. As a result, it already shows more refined tannin development in the bottle, and is more generous at this stage than our prior wines. My feeling is it is going evolve for another 5-8 years in a big way- it has the fruit and the structure to do so. But this has been in bottle a year already and it is a wine we are really enjoying.
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I don’t think I’ll ever be able to adequately describe the emotion of this vineyard, which sits at the convergence of the redwoods and the Pacific Ocean, but the place is undeniably distinct. So is this wine. 2014 again gave us a little late season warmth- just enough to stave off the heaviest fog and ensure we got some incredible flavor development. From tasting in the vineyard, to fresh juice, to barrel and finally to bottle, we really liked this wine a lot.
And yet, it still completely blindsided us- we weren’t prepared for the transformation it has shown in the year it has rested post bottling. It has evolved into such a complex wine, with layers of goodness, far beyond what I ever hoped for (and I had very high hopes). It stands out from all our other Pinots- not qualitatively, but in terms of its voice. Which is as it should be- I expect the Russian River Pinots to speak of the overall appellation as well as the specific vineyards, but this is from a very different place and speaks of it. While always a very popular wine for us, this one is a real stand out already. I rarely urge people to “buy more”, but were it me, I’d get after this one. It’s easily got 6-9 years of development ahead of it, but I’d hate to have to wait that long to enjoy it.
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When we began making Pinot (long before “Sideways” made it fashionable to do so), our Russian River Valley Pinot was our largest production wine; about 300 cases, which a huge winery would lose to evaporation in a year. While we make more than we used to, it still is under 1000 cases, almost all of which is sold to restaurants in Las Vegas, California, and New York. It’s always represented our take on what the vintage meant for the appellation as a whole, as opposed to one single place.
In 2014, nature was exceedingly generous, and this wine reflects that generosity. It maintains a nice balance between red and black fruit, has great weight, but carries enough acid that the wine is surprisingly nimble, and decidedly food friendly. How food friendly? We’ve had it with food ranging from Ahi poke with tempura avocados, to steak with foie butter and mushrooms, and a lot of stuff in between. And, the fact that it’s in darn near every resort property in Las Vegas (or seems that way), means a lot of other people are having it with dinner too. We’ve sold out of it, but have a very small amount for our club to enjoy. You could wait to drink it, but I don’t think you’ll regret enjoying it immediately.
The Oscuro brand is my homage to my Italian heritage, and Montepulciano is a grape grown throughout southern Italy (except in the area of Montepulciano, where they grow the Sangiovese grape. Italians, go figure). Montepulciano tends to be more of a mass produced wine there, but more producers are treating it with the care and devotion of a noble grape. It is akin to the difference between growing grapes for jug wine and growing for artisan wines.
These grapes are grown at about 900 foot elevation on rocky volcanic soils above the Dry Creek Valley. We strive for authenticity, and this bears the trademark black color and blackberry flavor profile of the grape. It also carries a low alcohol, and stunning tannins. This grape has a long and noble pedigree in Italy. We believe this grape deserves to be treated with deference to those noble origins, and we feel this wine does so. The tannins will carry this wine for a long time, but it can be enjoyed now, and for the next 7-9 years.
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John & Carri Holdredge