2018 Holdredge "Upper Elevations" Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast
This is our blend from three of the “true” Sonoma Coast vineyards we work with. The “true” Sonoma Coast is a rectangle which runs generally along the first three ridges in from the Pacific, with a southern line running from the hamlet of Freestone to Bodega Bay, and north to the Mendocino Ridge. 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 950).
Each of these places has a distinctive character- Martinelli for its notes of lifted red fruit and silky palate; Campbell (the True), which straddles power and elegance; and Riddle Ranch (“Rolling Thunder”), a consistent testament to power. We aren’t constrained by any formula or rules on this blend- each year is a different wine, and we approach our blending trials with an empty notebook and an empty glass.
I loved the 2016 so much I couldn’t wait to start assembling the 2017. So, I began working on the blend in mid-December – as soon as the wines finished their second (malolactic) fermentation. It was quite a journey. Initially, I gravitated to more of the True, then I went through a phase where the Three Sisters carried the blend, but by March, I was focusing more on what the Rolling Thunder brought to the mix. The final blend is 38% “Three Sisters”, 29% “The True, and 33% “Rolling Thunder” (the 2016 was only 9% Rolling Thunder).
We had planned on releasing this wine last March, but we felt it just wasn’t ready. When we revisited it in late October, it had completely transformed into the wine we had expected at bottling. Carri’s first comment was “wow, that just absolutely jumps out of the glass!”, and it really does. The aromatics are a wonderful mix of black cherries, red licorice, and very ripe strawberries. The mouthfeel is rich and expansive, and to call it “silky” only captures part of its appeal. As we tasted and discussed the wine, Carri asked my impressions. I told her I thought it tasted like a blend of Three Sisters, The True, and Rolling Thunder, although at any given moment, I might identify aspects from one of those wines, and moments later, identify an aspect of a different wine. It continues to evolve in the glass and is simply delicious right now. Only 101 cases made. Drink now until 2026.