2016 Estate Pinot Noir ~ The Perch
The Vintage: 2016 welcomed the end of the 3-year drought with some ground soaking precipitation. The wet winter was followed by intermittent rains during a mild spring. There was some extreme heat in the region during mid-to late September, but our fruit was picked by then and our vineyard was not affected. The vines welcomed the drought-relief by producing a good quality bloom and fruit set, followed by a long growing season and a healthy harvest. The 2016 berries were plump, dark and juicy. Still, the yields in 2016 were slightly below average throughout the region. The long, cool growing season produced a complexity in the juice that is compelling. The climate and rugged topography of our site conveys all the attributes so special and unique to this place; power, elegance and density balanced with minerality and brightness, all framed with a strong sense of the nearby ocean.
Production: 3 barrels 13.4% alc.
AVA: Sta. Rita Hills
The site: Organically Farmed on a tiny parcel on the southwestern corner of the vineyard, the vines cling to the edge of a dramatic 450’ windswept cliff. Single vineyard, single block, single clone (2A), this special cuvée is planted on Linne clay loam soils. The wine defies its rugged existence with a feminine purity, elegance and minerality.
Winemaking: After 14 days of fermentation in an open vat, the grapes were pressed to barrel with roughly 60% fermenting whole cluster. The berries were plump, dark & powerful. The wine saw about 40% 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 in February 2018. No acidification. No chaptalization.
Vinous Review: The 2016 Pinot Noir ~ The Perch, from one of the rockiest sections of the vineyard, is powerful, deep and tannic, with serious intensity in all of its directions. Mineral, saline and savory notes dominate. The Perch is dark, powerful and concentrated, but I am not sure it will ever be an especially finessed or elegant wine. ~Antonio Galloni
Rating: 91 Ideal drinking window: 2020-2028
The Wine Advocate Review: The 2016 Pinot Noir Perch from Wenzlau Vineyard, like its 2015 counterpart, is more mineral and finer-boned than the regular Estate bottling, opening up to reveal notes of cedary red fruits, plums and raw cocoa, framed by a light touch of new oak. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, supple and silky, with a sappy, lingering finish. This is a delicate expression of Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir that I found attractive. ~ William Kelley
Rating: 91 Ideal drinking window: 2019-2026