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2016 Holdredge Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Bucher Vineyard
Bucher Vineyard is situated a few miles to the southwest of Healdsburg on Westside Road, an extremely highly-regarded area for Pinot Noir in the Russian River Valley AVA. There are a small handful of vineyards with names synonymous for some of the finest pinots ever to come from Sonoma County. Bucher is toward the north end of the appellation, so it is slightly warmer, although the hills to the west (the beginning of the coastal range) offer afternoon shade. There is little water, and the story of the wines is told in the soils.
We take two clones from two different blocks, and they are quite different. One of the blocks is planted in “Josephine” soils, which are some of the oldest soils around; THEY come from weathered sedimentary and volcanic rocks. Our other block is on a soil called “Goldridge”, which is formed from weathered schist and other sedimentary rocks. Both soils are excellent for Pinot Noir, and the careful farming of John and Diane Bucher shows in the fruit.
When I visit Bucher, there is always a sense of serenity around our main block; it’s not an unusual feeling in a vineyard, but the Bucher Vineyard has always spoken to me this way. That manifests itself in the wine, which almost always has a sense of serenity about it.
2016 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir “Bucher Vineyard” This is our 11th vintage at the Bucher Vineyard, and there have already been several vintages that reminded me of our earlier vintages. I think that speaks well consistent the voice of that place is; while the impact of the season shapes the wines year to year, the voice of Bucher remains constant. As I tasted it while writing these notes, I really kept thinking that it was very reminiscent of the 2009, so much so that I finally pulled a bottle from the cellar. I’d like to say my memory is so strong that I was correct, but in truth, while there are aromatic similarities, I think this is fuller and richer than the 2009 ever was, and with better tannin management. So, while my memory isn’t what it once was, I'm pleased to say the wine is delicious.
This was a blend of two different pieces of the Bucher vineyard; picked separately over two weeks. As is often the case, the first piece we picked was also the first pick of the year for us- and for that reason garnered a lot of close attention and affection in the cellar. It always seemed perky, but has really become more bold as it has evolved. The nose has a delicate aromatic profile, that initially shows lighter fruits which evolve to riper notes as it opens up, but with the hint of rose petal we so often see at Bucher. The flavors are fresh; a nice meld of cherries and pomegranate, with a subtle underlying note of mushroom. I think this is going to be very enjoyable over the next 5-8 years, although I might drink it on the earlier side of that range. 130 cases made.