2018 Dierberg Pinot Noir, Drum Canyon Vineyard, SRH
2018 was a vintage that we hope for every year in our coastal vineyards. Below
average winter rain set us up for another year of lower than normal vigor. Spring
began cool and temperatures remained moderate throughout the summer. In
many ways what makes this vintage remarkable was that its’ weather was
unremarkable. “Regular” vintages in Sta. Rita Hills is so well suited for excellent
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that the cool temperatures, moderate wind patterns,
and lack of heat spells meant concentrated fruit that retained the freshness and was
filled with a mouth-watering texture. Unlike 2017 when heat spells complicated
harvest decisions and in some cases fruit quality with a stricter selection process,
the only knock on 2018 was its low quantity. It is reminiscent of 2015’s
concentration but with 2016/2017 elegance.
This is the kind of wine that - if one was self-conscious - might make you feel bad as
a winemaker. It's so good with so little done to it. Sure, we include some stems
(about 20%), but otherwise, the quality of the fruit does all the work. People
congratulate you, they say how much they appreciate its nerve, structure, and depth
of flavor; and we sit there smiling all the while knowing our main role was to keep
enough oxygen away to make sure it didn’t turn to vinegar, add the right oak that
improves pleasure but doesn’t reveal itself, sanitize everything before bottling, and
get it into the bottle without breaking too much glass. Voila.
Dark fruits with spice, which is almost like fennel, and earthy notes drive these youthful aromatics. I love
the structure that wraps itself around the very finesse-driven weight and mid-palate. The wine has sneaky length
and should last for some time.