2015 Dierberg Pinot Noir, Drum Canyon Vineyard, SRH Image

2015 Dierberg Pinot Noir, Drum Canyon Vineyard, SRH

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 is concentrated, fresh, and limited.


The 2015 theme for our cool coastal vineyards was low yield, intense structure, and a veiled nature that wants time to reveal itself. As initial blocks of Pinot Noir were harvested it was quickly apparent that the vintage’s intensity required less stem inclusion and maceration time needed to be shortened. We enjoy good tannin structure and tension in our Pinot Noir, but all Pinot should have an elegant balance if tense in its general profile. With depth and tannin coming quickly, we reduced time on skins to accommodate this intensity. One might think more new oak would work, but we felt the depth of the wines provided such complexity that we didn’t want to confound it with anything but our typical program.


Drum Canyon at its best? Very possibly but not in an obvious manner. It appears inky, and structured which may hide its delicacy and balance - but those latter qualities still drive this wine as they always do. As with Dierberg Vineyard, 2015 Drum Canyon isn't fully revealing itself yet though is very enjoyable in its serene strength. We entrust ourselves to the freshness of this mouth feel and the history of the vineyard to know that the aromatics will continue to unveil its current elaborate mystery of flavors. While not as fruit forward as 2014, it is not because the fruit it is not there. It is interwoven with more things to make its complexity more difficult to deconstruct. It is one of those wines you keep sniffing, and forget to drink, as you lose yourself thinking about the aroma. The lover of both structured, masculine Pinot Noir and balanced, incredibly intense but fresh Pinot Noirs should find solace in this wine. 

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Wine Specs
Pinot Noir
Sta. Rita Hils
Alcohol %
Wine Enthusiast
Robert Parker
Wine Advocate