2015 Dierberg "Steven" Pinot Noir, Dierberg Vineyard, SMV
Four decades ago, the Dierberg family quest of producing world-class wine began in their home state of Missouri. Two decades later, the family settled in their second home, Santa Barbara County, where the Star Lane, Dierberg, and Drum Canyon vineyards were born. Each vineyard is tethered to a 250-year pursuit of making wine where value is derived from the unique qualities discovered from each site. CCL (250 years in Roman Numerals) wines personify the dedication, passion, and pursuit embarked upon four decades ago.
2015 brought some dramatic yield differences from recent vintages. After plentiful yields in 2012-2014, the vines seemed content with producing fewer clusters. Then in May, we experienced one of the coldest weather patterns in over a decade during flowering, reducing the amount of berries that set. Therefore yields were very low. The season progressed fairly normally if being early like the previous drought-driven vintages. While the vintage will be known for several heat spells from mid-September into October, the Pinot Noir was harvested prior to those spells and had a lovely, cool ripening period to finish. Therefore the vintage was concentrated, fresh, and limited.
2015 was such a concentrated and flavor-forward vintage that we believed the fruit which supplies Steven's exceptional depth and nuance was positioned to take on a bit more stem inclusion. This adds even more complexity in flavor, but also layers in fuller texture. As the wine aged this impact proved true and we noticed that the oak integration was even better than 2014, therefore the selection resulted in 100% new oak. The result is a wine loaded with depth and structure without compromising the usual finesse of Pinot Noir. These wines will take some time to open up, but it is proving to be an exception vintage built to age.
2015 is more fruit forward than often seen from Dierberg Vineyard. While the forest floor and earthy elements of the vineyard remain, this vintage of Steven brings dark cherry flavors forward. However all the wine seems veiled in some "vintage-impact" that remains nuanced and complex but without revealing it fully. As a result, one is drawn to continually explore the aromatics in an effort to discover the wine. A compelling quality only reinforced by the depth and full texture. While the mid-palate is bigger than 2014, the finish remains structured and fresh. This is a Steven of unmatched quality. Enjoy!