2018 Holdredge Mazie Rose Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
I know this vineyard better than any other I work with. I bought the small farmhouse in the mid-90s, took over an existing Syrah vineyard which I later converted to Pinot. A big chunk of my wine history took place there- I already was making wine with friends, but in this place, I grew grapes, made wine, met my wife, and got married and eventually we lived there. I feel close to all the vineyards I work with; this one I feel most connected to.
The vineyard is tiny; about 1 1/3 acres in all. It sits on a bench above the Santa Rosa plain but is actually nestled in a low area on that bench. As a result, it stays cooler as a result (cool air is heavier); it warms later and cools earlier each day- not a lot, but it makes a difference, The Daffodils at the corner, about 400 yards away flower about ten days earlier than the daffs at this property.
The vineyard is underlain by a soil called “Huichica” (Wah-cheek-ah) which is a loam with some clay. This place is distinctive for also having a significant amount of pea gravel throughout it (residue of when all this was ocean floor and as the waters receded the gravel was left behind in this lower spot), thus presenting the anomaly of well-drained clay soils.
I initially planted Pommard clone when I put in the Pinot and added a small block of clones 115, 667, and 777, as well as a small block of clone 828 (one of the earlier plantings in California. More recently, a small amount of clone 943 has been added; it’s really a very nice selection of clones for this cool site. My biggest learning about winegrowing came at this place, and some of the best days of my life in many ways.
I wasn’t sure what I’d write about this, our last vintage of Mazie Rose. We used to live there, so when I think about the wine, a lot of thoughts come to mind. I remember picking Syrah with friends (before we planted it to Pinot) to make wine in the little barn that was behind our house, long before we started this brand. I think of incredible dinners and rare wines we shared with friends. I remember “that one” dinner there that involved Tequila and multiple episodes in one night of denying to the sheriff that we’d been setting off commercial-grade fireworks (“I didn’t see it. Must have been kids”). I’m not sure they bought it. No, I know they didn’t. I think of my friend who bought the place from us because his wife told him to (truly). And how, to make sure he’d keep selling us the fruit (he had his own winery), we named the wine after his then only daughter “Mazie Rose”. I think of what it was like as I walked that vineyard each day and began to see how my dream of a winery could become real. And I think of friends no longer with us, with whom we once walked that vineyard.
But more than anything, when I think of this place, I think of my family; of Carri and I falling in love and starting our married life there. About starting our family there. I think of pulling my son as a toddler down the little lane in a green wagon as we delivered Christmas cookies to our neighbors. He’ll graduate from Oregon State in June. I think of our daughter walking through spring flowers in the vineyard while wearing one of her many “princess” dresses. She’ll graduate from Healdsburg High School in June. And maybe most of all, I think of how Carri and I had dreamed of our future together when we lived there; dreams we’ve now mostly lived through, and the incredible blessings we’ve enjoyed along the way. I intend to enjoy a few bottles of this wine and reflect upon those memories and others, every year for the rest of my life. I’m usually conservative about drinking window predictions, but for this one, I expect peak drinking to be now and forever. Consider the source, and adjust expectations accordingly. It’s a great wine.
Only 79 cases made.