2014 Estate Pinot Noir
The Vintage: The 2014 vintage has its own signature, perhaps from the vines enduring the 2nd full year of severe drought. The benefits of training the vines to go deep (with low-irrigation) and regular application of thick blankets of mulch (to hold in moisture), have definitely assisted in lowering the stress on the vines. Overall, the yields were actually higher than usual for most of the region, including Wenzlau Vineyard. Perhaps it was some panic in the vines that caused the higher production in even our pruned-to-extra-low-yield vines. The winter of 2014 was mild and dry and bud break came a few weeks early, and so, in turn, did harvest. The result for this vintage is very fresh, mineral, deeply soulful, and pure juice. These wines really convey all the attributes so special and unique to this place; precision, clarity, and power all framed with a strong sense of the nearby ocean.
The site: Organically Farmed Harvest 8/16-9/4/14 Planted on Tierra loam soils as well as diatomaceous outcroppings (lots of crushed sea shells), this very west slope gets pounded by the onshore flow coming off the Pacific. The struggle these vines endure to send their roots deep into the signature Sta. Rita Hills dense black clay soil to steady themselves against the constant wind from this elevated plot give the fruit’s juice added complexity.
Tasting Notes: This vintage is exceptionally mineral and aromatic with deep texture and elegant balance. The wine has its signature bright red, stone fruit, bright, fresh acidity balanced by a savory medium, mid-palette weight from 20% whole stem inclusion.
Winemaking: The wine saw about 30% new French oak, racked off lees after 14 months in barrel, blended, and back down to barrel for an additional 4 months of cellaring before being bottled and put to sleep for 6 months. Predominately from clones 115 and 667, with a smaller amount of 2A there is about 20% whole cluster in the finished wine. No acidification. No chaptalization.
Vinous Review: Wenzlau's 2014 Pinot Noir Estate offers a striking combination of energy and fruit. Translucent and understated, the 2014 is all finesse. Sweet red cherry and floral notes abound in an expressive, weightless Pinot Noir built on grace. In 2014, the Estate is terrific. Antonio Galloni