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2017 Holdredge 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.
The early season heat that hammered Sonoma County in late August was least influential in the Annapolis area. The close proximity to the coast and lowest elevation of all our sites in the “true” Sonoma Coast allowed what marine influence there was to keep things moderate. The grapes had barely begun verasion at that time, so they were able to shrug off the heat, and the flavors and sugars developed after the heat, and at a rather nice pace. It’s almost two hours of gnarly driving to get there, but I lost count of the times I drove up and they kept tasting better, but they really took their time!
The 2017 reflects that moderation- it carries a medium palate weight and is the most red-fruit driven wine from this vineyard that nature has given us for a few years. It’s pretty damn graceful, and some very fine tannins coat the palate (the result of a LOT of hand punch-downs!). I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that the vineyard is so close to the ocean and the wine pairs really well with grilled Salmon, Halibut and Tuna (please, lemon, salt, pepper, nothing else!). Drink now, although we are decanting it- a little air makes for a world of happiness. It should continue to develop over the next 7-8 years.