Yup! It is almost time. The spring releases are almost here.
It has become a cliche to say that “this is the most exciting release yet” but with new vintages and a new wine hitting the deck it is hard for me not to be excited. After a short hiatus of producing Riesling it is officially back in action and the Bennett Valley Pinot Noir is the first new addition to the lineup since the 2013 vintage! As you already know I am a sucker for dry Riesling. For red wines if I had to choose one to drink for the rest of my life it would be Pinot Noir. It is probably what I have the most experience consuming and getting into making Pinot has been a dream come true.
Before I get too far ahead of myself, here is a quick rundown of what you can expect from these two new releases:
2016 Sonoma Coast Dry Riesling
Oddly enough the Riesling was the last thing to come in during the 2016 harvest. I honestly thought my samples were off or that I had completely screwed up, but sure enough when the grapes got to the winery they were gorgeous. For those not in the know, your white wine grapes are usually the first thing to be harvested. For them to be the last made me… nervous. As the fermentation started in small stainless steel barrels I continued to have my doubts but upon completion and getting through the first racking I couldn’t be happier with the result. Still bone-dry in style the 2016 is a very solid combination of the prior two releases: super crisp and refreshing with enough body and complexity to make it more than just a patio pounder (though I suppose that depends on what kind of mood you are in).
2015 Bennett Valley Pinot Noir
Fair warning: this is where I start to geek-out.
The rabbit hole that Pinot Noir lives in is deep, like super deep. It is amazingly complex when done well. On the flip side it is amazingly mediocre when done poorly. Similar to the glut of Merlot in the late 90s and early 2000s that created the “Sideways Effect,” Pinot Noir has quickly grown in popularity. That overarching wine trend has resulted in A LOT of below average Pinot Noir. To keep that from happening I looked to be as picky as possible with the fruit, fermentation and aging. For the fruit portion I worked with an awesome vineyard in Bennett Valley (just outside Santa Rosa). From that vineyard I nailed down two clones of Pinot, 115 and 667, to use. For the fermentation those two clones were kept separated and closely regulated to create two distinct lots. For aging, a combination of new and used oak was utilized to created a couple more lots for blending purposes. Now that bottling is here all of that has been tasted and blended appropriately to create a single complete wine.
Stylistically the 2015 Pinot Noir is bright but earthy. Fruity but structured. Complex but approachable. It is exactly what I want Pinot Noir to be: a wine that is easy to enjoy but hard to understand.
And that is the tip of the iceberg. The less geeky version is that I love Pinot Noir. From a very young age Pinot was a part of life thanks to my parents and grandparents. To be able to put my mark on this varietal is amazing. It is a feeling that I have a hard time describing. The closest I can come is saying, “it is a dream come true.”
Stay tuned for the official release notice! If you have yet to jump in on the wine club, MTGAllocations, you can sign up to reserve these wines and future releases now.