2019 Holdredge "The True" Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir - 97 Points
Vineyard location: Annapolis, CA
Distance to Pacific: approximately 3.5 miles (second ridge in)
Elevation: approximately 1250 feet
It’s about a 3 ½ hour round trip from Healdsburg just to do a quick check on this vineyard. I never mind it though- whether I go due west on Stewarts’s Point road or take Highway 1 up the coast, it’s incredibly beautiful. I’ve traveled these roads for almost forty years now, and have more than a few fond memories out here. Sometimes, when I wait to call the pick to get “something more”, I wonder if it’s also that I’m just reluctant to lose my reason for going out there.
I still distinctly recall one of the times I checked the fruit at this vineyard in late September 2019. Driving home, instead of thinking about the work that waited for me at the winery, I kept thinking about what I had just tasted, and how the fruit seemed to carry a different level of focus and intensity. What struck me more than anything was the acidity, and that I didn’t think I’d ever worked with grapes with that level of flavor ripeness that had that level of acid (they usually work in different direction, acid dropping as hang time extends). There’s a place I always pull over and take a few moments to enjoy the view, and I remember sitting there thinking that this might be an incredibly special wine.
Once in the winery, it was all that and more. The flavor profile and aromatics took me to what I expect of this place, pretty much “textbook” cherries, strawberries, black tea and a floral note. But against those characteristics, it had (and has) a laser-like focus, which conveys a real sense of brilliance. Better still, that brilliance is underscored by richness and depth, that is completely understandable, given its very close proximity to the Pacific, which defines the weather at the place these grapes grow. As Carri and I discussed this wine before bottling, I made a comment to the effect that for all the attention we give to soil, sometimes I think we forget that the ocean impacts the wine in its own way. I did a very simple Steak Frites a few nights ago, seared on infra-red burner, sliced and finished with fresh parsley and drizzled butter, and a roasted garlic aioli for the frites. If there’s a better food pairing than this, I can’t wait to try it, but this hit it out of the park.
The things that promise a long life of interesting development for a wine are acid and richness; this one has both. I’m reluctant to give a drinking window, other than its drinkable from now until a very, very long time from now.