2016 Holdredge Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Bucher Vineyard 5L

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The Place

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 currently take two clones from two different blocks, and they are quite different. One of the blocks("Pear Tree") is planted in “Josephine” soils, which are some of the oldest soils around; they come from weathered sedimentary and volcanic rocks. Our other block ("Saddle") 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 for me, almost always has a sense of serenity about it.


The Wine

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 definite aromatic similarities, I think this is has slightly less weight and a resulting elegance the 2009 never achieved. So, while my memory isn’t what it once was, I'm pleased to say the wine is delicious.

Although we took fruit from two different pieces of the Bucher vineyard; and picked separately over two weeks, the final blend is from 7 barrels (varying amounts of each) of a single clone from the Pear Tree block (the northernmost block at Bucher). As is often the case, Bucher was the first pick of the year for us from any vineyard- and for that reason garnered a lot of close attention and affection in the cellar. It always seemed perky, but has really become more elegant 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. While delicious now, 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.

92 points- Wine Enthusiast;  90 Points- Jeb Dunnuck

Wine Specs
Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley
Alcohol %