This club shipment is a milestone for us: it includes our very first release from a very iconic vineyard in western Sonoma County. While our winery is decidedly a family project, neither of us grew up here, but we were fortunate to have been making Pinot Noir for several years before the movie “Sideways” made it “cool” to make Pinot Noir. We’ve been repeatedly blessed over the years as we’ve been able to secure fruit from some very special growers, including the Rochioli family, the Bucher family, Ulises Valdez (among others) and now, after twelve years of cajoling, we are fortunate to include the Martinelli family and their “Three Sisters” vineyard among our fruit sources.
The two pinots in this shipment are from completely opposite ends of the flavor spectrum, and though young (2016), both are already incredibly accessible. Both were under consideration for our December release, we decided both needed a little more time, and the dividends of patience are obvious. We have also included a very rare wine from our other brand- Oscuro (Italian for “obscure”). It is our final 2015 vintage wine to be released, and it is sensational.
Holdredge 2016 “Three Sisters Vineyard” Fort Ross/Seaview Pinot Noir - New Release! Only
Only 72 cases made.
$70 ($59.50 club members)
Twelve years ago, I asked Lee and Pam Martinelli to sell me grapes from one of their coastal vineyards. The vineyards sit in a very remote and iconic location, off a road known as “Bohan Dillon Road”- which sits high above the second ridge in from the Pacific, at about 1200 foot elevation. There is a ruggedness there that I really can’t describe- and pictures (as I take them) can’t convey it. There are places that are beautiful, and in some of them, nature also reminds you just how insignificant you are- this is one such place.
The wine’s color is not a dark by any standard- it is medium red, and on opening, a huge note of macerated cranberries and cherries aromatics hit the nose. Though light in color, it is not light in body, the mouth-feel is rich, and flavors coat the palate. And yet, true to its mountaintop roots, it carries a layer of fine tannins from front to back palate- a bit of structure that reminds you where it is from. A hundred years ago, the Martinelli family ran sheep on this ranch; I’ll simply say that I don’t see it as coincidental that a little rack of Lamb would be a perfect pairing. We are thrilled to release it, and while it will be delicious over the next 5-7 years, I wouldn’t feel any need whatsoever to wait- we already waited twelve years!
Holdredge 2016 “Petits Cadeaux” Russian River Valley Pinot Noir - New Release!
Only 125 cases made.
$50 ($42.50 club members)
The divergence between this wine and the “Three Sisters” begins with the color; this is a dark, almost purple-hued wine. That color comes from the tiny clusters and berries from this particular site, the corresponding increased ratio of skin (where the color comes from) and juice, and a very long (9 day) pre-fermentation cold soak to facilitate flavor and color extraction. The color theme continues into the aromatics, all of which carry a darker fruit profile- with every berry in the profile rightfully preceded by the word “black” (“blackberries, black raspberries, etc.).
This is an early ripening site, and sometimes, this is the only wine in the winery as we wait for other vineyards, so it gets a lot of attention. In 2016, we picked 5 different clones in four separate picks, all were fermented separately, and all were delicious, but only two clones (both originally from Chambertain) comprise 95% of the blend, with the last 5% from a third clone. From the onset it had a power and richness that is typical of this place and it has evolved into a rather plush wine that still has plenty of acid to carry the back end. This is drinking really well now, and should improve for at least the next 4-6 years.
Oscuro 2015 Dry Creek Valley “Schioppettino” - New Release!
Only 92 cases made.
$42 (Club Price: $35.70)
This is an exceedingly rare grape from our other brand- which reflect our passion for bringing lesser known and sometimes obscure Italian grapes to our customers. This grape, once thought extinct, is only cultivated in several villages in Italy, and we were the first American producer to release one starting in 2004. This vineyard sits high above the Dry Creek Valley, with volcanic soils and moderately warm temperatures- ideal from any vantage point.
The 2015 is one of the more luxurious versions of this wine that we’ve made. The “Cherry Pie” note is more reminiscent of a Montmorency than a sour cherry, there are some very soft black fruit notes throughout, and the black pepper aromatics are not as dominant. This is a real pleasure to drink, and we always find great food pairings- from classics like cheese and charcuterie; our favorite non-tomato pizzas and pasta dishes (a mushroom-sausage lasagna with Bechamel was a knockout); to a simple “American” meal like “a steak and a bake”. We decided to hold this back to release- it had a few tiny rough edges, and right now it is drinking seamlessly- and while it could age well for a number of years, it is offering pretty immediate pleasure.
John & Carri Holdredge