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2017 Holdredge Bucher Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir -91 points
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 (including Rochioli, Bucher, and Flax). 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 while the story of the wines is told by the soils, 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 (Pear tree); 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.
In a way, the 2017 is a return to where we started with Bucher, we used a single clone (667) from a single block (Pear Tree- their northern-most block) which was how we made the first five vintages of wine from there beginning in 2006. As we tasted through the wines we made from there in 2017, I kept gravitating to the darker red fruit “bass line” running through the wine. In a vintage in which high-toned red fruit dominated, the darker notes here were refreshing, but what I really loved was it still has that tell-tale note of rose petal in the aromatics. I think the 2017 has more focus than the 2016 had (it was pretty plush), the result of slightly lower pH in 2017 (which shows as better acid). Different things can define a wine- here, it is that sense of serenity and those distinctive aromatics. Bucher ages well, we’ve been drinking the 2008 of late and it is delicious- I think this one will easily go 7-9 years+. It is ready to go (doesn’t need decanting), and I think you’ll find it quite versatile with food.