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2017 Holdredge Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Rolling Thunder
This vineyard sits atop the third ridge in from the Pacific just outside of Occidental. The soils are the “Goldridge” series, always a favorite among Pinot producers. This sits toward the north-south midway of the “true” Sonoma Coast appellation- and because of the altitude (some 950 feet), it generally sits above the heaviest fog, but still gains some cooling benefit of the fog, as well as cool air which comes up through Coleman Valley. So, it is a site that offers full sun but moderate temperatures- which allows us to hang the fruit longer. This is critical, as this vineyard presents higher levels of tannins, which, when fully ripe, contribute to the seamless and smooth structure of a bigger wine. (A lot of people think tannins are gritty, and if they aren’t ripe, they are quite gritty. But ripe tannins are silky and enhance the mouthfeel of the wine). So, that extended hang time doesn't simply facilitate flavor development, it also allows us to ripen tannins, which make for a more complete wine.
We take two blocks from this vineyard- one planted to Pommard clone and one to AS2 (828), generally picked 7-10 days apart (AS2 first), and kept separate until bottling. The final blend is usually slightly more Pommard. The vineyard is meticulously farmed by our friend Jim Riddle, and to say he is “obsessive” about quality is an understatement. We were the first winery to make a wine from this vineyard (in 2009), and love it for how it consistently conveys the impact of mountain grown fruit, and makes a delicious, and occasionally dramatic, wine.
The Pommard and 828 are completely different, from bud break, to cluster morphology, to flavor profile. We usually pick them from 8-10 days apart, and vinify them separately, and keep them separate until blending. From the day we de-stemmed the grapes, the Pommard was a standout; the 828 was right where it is supposed to be, but the Pommard just seemed to have hit something very special. As I kept tasting the wines in barrel, I kept asking myself, “can this really be this good?” In a word, yes. As solid as the 828 was, and it was really good, the more Pommard we worked into the blend, the more we liked the wine. The 2017 is 93% Pommard clone.
True to its name and place, this is a full-bodied wine that is all about power on the one hand, but without sacrificing a sense of elegance. The aromatics cover a broad spectrum, from candied dark cherries and black tea, to violets and dried orange rind notes. There is a purity about it- with tremendous focus, a concentrated mid-palate, and those ultra-fine tannins. Though full bodied, it is really quite complete- a balanced wine that one person said “just glides over the palate”. Indeed. Drink now until 2024. 123 cases made. $50.00 bottle