2016 Holdredge Pinot Noir "Upper Elevations" Sonoma Coast

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The Place

This is our first blend from three of the “true” Sonoma Coast vineyards we work with. The “true” Sonoma Coast runs generally from Bodega Bay north to the Mendocino County line, and three ridges in from the Pacific. This wine is a blend of the Martinelli “Three Sisters” Vineyard (Fort Ross Seaview- 2nd ridge in from the Pacific, Josephine Soils at elevation 1260); the Campbell Ranch (Annapolis- 2nd ridge in from the Pacific, Goldridge soils at elevation 750); and the “Riddle Ranch (Occidental area, 3rd Ridge in from the Pacific, Goldridge soils at elevation 900).

Each of these places has a distinctive character- Martinelli for its red fruit notes and fine tannins; Campbell (“The True”) that straddles power and elegance; and Riddle Ranch (“Rolling Thunder”), that always is a testament to power. With the 2016 vintage, we had enough of these wines to consider our first Sonoma Coast blend. And frankly, assembling it was about as much fun as we could have (there’s a lot of wine tasting involved!)

The Wine

The final blend is 53 % “Three Sisters”, 38% “The True, and 9% “Rolling Thunder”. The place where we spent the most time assembling the blend was how much of the Rolling Thunder we wanted to use- we really liked the result with more, but we felt it overshadowed the grace and finesse of the Three Sisters. To give you a sense of how blending trials work, our first session resulted in using almost 20% of Rolling Thunder in the blend, but by the third session for this wine, we had scaled that back to about 9%. We constantly talk about how “less is more”, and this is a good example.

The wine shows a very pretty spectrum of flavors. I personally like the tannins, which are very fine and very well integrated. It does have substantial palate weight, with a flavor profile that ruins from notes of black licorice, to red licorice, macerated strawberries and very ripe red raspberries. It is at once “pretty”, as well as powerful, but in a restrained way. It’s a very versatile wine that has paired very well for us with some classic dishes (including Cassoulet and grilled salmon with a very slight drizzle of beurre blanc).  Only70 cases made. Drink now until 2026.

90 points - Jeb Dunnuck; 90 points - Wine Enthusiast

Wine Specs
Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast
Alcohol %
Wine Profile
90 points - Jeb Dunnuck