2018 Eden Rift Vineyards, Pinot Noir, Eden -A- Vent, Cienega Valley Estate, San Benito County.
The new carbonic maceration/fermentaion Eden -A- Vent 2018 from Eden Rift is an exciting and easy to quaff Pinot Noir that plays the line between fruit essences and savory tones to perfection, much the same way a fine Cru Beaujolais does. This well judged version, crafted by Eden Rift’s Cory Waller, a native son of Hollister and the Cienega Valley, who was assistant winemaker with his brother mike at the famed Calera as well as having made wine in Oregon and New Zealand including Pinot specialists Soter and Martinborough. His latest set of wines at Eden Rift are extremely sexy wines, especially his Terraces 2017 Pinot and Chardonnay bottlings which are made from tiny yields and heritage clones, some from cuttings acquired from Calera, their neighbor on Mount Harlan, as well as his old vine red from vines that date back to 1906, along with the crisply dry Rosé of Pinot and this fun Carbonic Eden -A- Vent. A tour of Eden Rift was riveting, both in wine tasting and the views on offer, and the scenery is amazing with steep terraced vines and the historic setting, in fact the Eden Rift property was originally planted in 1849, making it one of the oldest wine producing sites in California. The estate has seen many owners over the years, though it looks like new owner Christian Pillsbury, one of California great wine enthusiasts who helped get Coravin up and running and who after meeting famed Burgundy guru and importer Martine Saunier of Martine Wines, who helped mentor him and pushed him to un imaginable heights in the wine world, as he played a huge role in Hong Kong’s rise in the wine world. Representing such iconic brands as Chateau Rayas of Chateauneuf du Paper in The Rhone and Domaine Leroy in Burgundy with Martine, and getting into the greatest Chateaux of Bordeaux made him one of kingpins in the Asian wine world. Still, he wanted roots in California and began a search for a meaningful property to made a unique wine and brand, and that over time led him to the Cienega Valley and to this estate that would become Eden Rift. When Christian took control of this site he immediately set about replanting and grafting to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay along with restoring the old vines and began expanding unused areas with a few Rhone plots as well.
The 2018 Eden -A- Vent Carbonic Pinot, made from exclusively 828 clone, was 100% whole cluster, fermented in a closed small stainless tank with an adjustable (floating top) that sealed the whole bunches creating that no air environment with Waller keeping a close eye on things venting CO2 when needed and getting the wine off the stems at exactly the right time to keep the bitter notes in check, while allowing the subtle earthy tones to come through. The Eden -A- Vent was then aged in used French barrels for a few months before bottling to keep it lively and fresh, which it is and unlike more commercial carbonic it avoided the candy/bubble gum and wild tropical (banana) flavors, instead it has a sense of Pinot fruit purity and is very poised in the glass with a lovely ruby hue, soft florals and a layered palate of black cherry, plum, wild strawberry and pomegranate fruits along with a hint of pepper, chalk dust, dried lavender, grilled citrus, fennel and a faint sweet and sour Thai basil and racy currant jelly note. This is vivid and vibrant, it should be served with a little chill to keep its juicy character flowing, it has a light/medium body, but does impress for impact and style, it makes for a fun choice for picnics, outdoor dinning and BBQ’s, I can easily find dishes and occasions for this stuff, Korean beef with Kimchi rice, spicy pulled pork and coleslaw and blackened salmon all solid choices. For many years, the Eden Rift estate tried Italian varietals with limited success, but Pillsbury, a huge Calera fan, saw the calcareous, granitic, limestone and mineral-rich soils throughout, and his intuition compelled him to believe that Burgundian varieties would and should again thrive in this isolated, wind-swept mountain canyon, and already the potential is obvious. This is a winery to watch and the current set of wines are worth searching out, and you can’t help but admire the pioneering spirit here, check it out!
($28 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive