2022 Holdredge Upper Elevations - Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
2022 brought what I think is the best version of this wine we have ever made. Carri always liked the 2018 best, while I preferred the 2017. But we both agree this is simply a wonderful expression of what a blend made from multiple high elevation sites in the Sonoma Coast can create. The 2022 is a blend of the sites that make “The True” (which we are releasing next spring by the way!) and “Rolling Thunder”. We also used fruit from a ridgetop ultra-cold site in the Sebastopol Hills. Those were the last grapes of the year for us, with lower sugars, but extraordinary acid that really carries the finish.
The real core of this wine came from a vineyard at 1300-foot elevation (our highest elevation grapes) that has some of the rockiest soils you can imagine. I’ve wanted this fruit forever, and I always thought it would make special wines. When I finally got to walk the vines, I was certain of it. The view from the top of the vineyard made me feel quite small and insignificant, which is always makes the walk worthwhile.
This was easily the most fun version of this wine I have ever made. As you may recall, Will had just finished his Masters at USC (“Fight On!”), and had put off starting back at his job to work with me for what we were pretty sure would be our last harvest. Normally, I drive to check these remote vineyards myself, and then when it’s close to calling the pick Carri starts joining me to make the final decision. It makes for a lot of long hours by myself, as these are not short drives.
But with Will around, I was able to have company, and after not having seen much of him for those years he was away at college, it was amazing. I never thought I’d have that kind of time with my son at age 23, and it was so wonderful to just get to know him as a man, and really talk. I doubt I’ll ever have that chance again, and we probably made far more visits than needed, but don’t tell him that. I also made him drive, which made me really feel like a boss. Or maybe Miss Daisy.
In the winery, the components all pretty much made themselves; the shortest cold soak was 6 days, the longest was 9. As per our usual approach, they fermented on native yeasts. I was loving the extraction so much we did many more punch downs than usual, often upwards of 6 per day at peak fermentation. Which is a lot easier to do when you can just ask (tell) your son to do it.
The final blend was surprisingly easy to compose as well. I had a general sense of direction from tasting barrels during elevage, and after only three blending sessions I ended up with a blend that was 47% from the 1300-foot vineyard, 20% each of the Rolling Thunder and The True, and the last 13% was from the Sebastopol Hills site. Once I thought I was there, I presented it to Carri, and after we tasted through a few more possible adjustments, she blessed the initial blend I had thought was right, which is kinda miraculous.
We both remarked that it is one of the most elegant wines we have ever made. Although young, we opened a bottle in early October and each had a small taste, and it was surprisingly generous. We put the cork back in (no gas) and revisited it the next night. That bit of air was like a super slow decant and it had an amazing impact. It is a medium weight wine, with brilliant
fruit that just seems to sparkle, and conveys a sense of being “polished” I don’t expect from wines this young. Drinking windows are never certain, but I think it has a solid 8-9 years ahead of it, maybe more. But one thing is certain; long after I forget the technical details about this wine, I’ll still remember that I made it with my son, and the amazing time we had together making it. Only 150 cases made.