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2016 Holdredge Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir The True
2016 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir “The True”
This vineyard sits about as far north and west as one can find a vineyard in Sonoma County. Situated in Annapolis, it is surrounded by Redwoods on the second ridge from the pacific, at about 750 feet. It is truly a very cold site; typically the fog burns off for just a few hours, and filtered sunlight is the rule not the exception. In colder years (2010 and 2011 were great examples), the flavors stay lighter and the wine is decidedly lighter and more petite. In other years, we get a little late season warmth, and the flavor profile really evolves and the wine is a lot bigger (2014, 2015, 2016). Nature really defines the wine from this place in a big way.
The Sonoma Coast appellation boundaries are quite expansive; ranging from the northern county line at Mendocino, down the coast to the Petaluma Gap, and then east past Petaluma right along the mudflats of the Petaluma River (Which have bupkus to do with “the coast”, but reflect some fine gerrymandering when the boundaries were created). Pinot producers have a colloquialism for a portion of it- the “true” Sonoma Coast - which includes the first three ridges in from the Pacific, from the county line down to Bodega Bay. This vineyard’s location epitomizes that definition, hence the name.
This wine really took me back to the 2016 harvest vintage in a big way. It was the last Pinot we picked in 2016, and by the time it was done fermenting the interns had already packed it in for the year. I always look for little moments of zen during harvest- moments where I simply feel part of nature. After wine had been pressed, I was working alone one afternoon, barreling it down, and there was a moment when the afternoon sunlight came into the winery in a particular way, and the whole winery had a glow about it, and I wasn’t thinking so much as I was feeling, and there was one of those moments. It was brief, but very beautiful, although I hadn’t really thought about since; but when I tasted this wine- it came flooding back.
This is just wonderfully smooth and focused, and totally distinct from our other wines. Driven by aromatics of plums, cherries, and notes of red licorice and black licorice, it is weighty and yet not at all heavy. Somehow, it shows that a wine can at once be lithe and powerful. As much as anything, to me the voice of this wine is really about emotions, which I liken to walking through a Plum orchard on a warm spring day when the trees are in bloom, and a soft breeze gently showers you with their blossoms. Only 125 cases made. $50.00 bottle.
"...incredibly expressive and full of personality" 92 points - Antonio Galloni; 91 points - Wine Spectator; 91 points - Jeb Dunnuck