2016 Estate Pinot Noir
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 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: 200 cases 13.2% alc.
AVA: Sta. Rita Hills
The site: Organically farmed, the vines are planted on tierra loam soils as well as diatomaceous outcroppings (lots of crushed sea shells, black clay and broken river rocks). This elevated, southwest slope gets pounded by the onshore flow coming off the Pacific Ocean. The vines send their roots deep into this signature Sta. Rita Hills dense, microbial black clay soil to steady themselves against the constant beating of the sea breeze. It is this condition that gives the fruit’s juice added boldness and complexity.
Tasting Notes: This vintage is exceptionally aromatic with a wonderful juiciness. There is dried stone fruit with deep texture from the whole stem inclusion giving the finished wine an elegant balance, structure and will allow the wine to age nicely in the bottle. But the wine is ready to enjoy now, as there is plenty of fresh, red stone fruit and bright acidity, giving the wine a pleasing, lip-smacking liveliness.
Winemaking: The berries were dark & juicy. The fruit fermented for about 18 days in open top vats with 1 or 2 punch downs most days, about 30% whole cluster. The fruit was then pressed to barrel for 14 months on lees before being racked, blended, and put back down to barrel for an additional 4 months of cellaring before being bottled and put to sleep for 6 months. Overall, the wine saw about 25% new French oak. Predominately from clones 115 and 667, with a smaller amount of 2A. No acidification. No chaptalization.
Vinous Review: Wenzlau's 2016 Pinot Noir Estate is gorgeous. Translucent, vibrant and energetic, the 2016 possesses real class from the very first taste. Orange peel, rose petal and mint nuances, along with an attractive whole cluster savoriness, add lift to this super-expressive, alluring Pinot. The 2016 is one of the best editions of the Estate Pinot I have tasted.
94 points Ideal drinking window: 2018-2026 ~Antonio Galloni
Wine Advocate Review: The 2016 Estate Pinot Noir opens in the glass with aromas of cherries, plum preserve and sweet herbs. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied with a rich chassis of fine-grained tannins and a good core of plummy fruit. 91+ Ideal drinking window: 2020-2027 ~William Kelley