2017 Halcon Vineyards, Pinot Noir, Oppenlander Vineyard, Anderson Valley.
The latest from Halcon, is fourth vintage of Oppenlander Pinot Noir made by this small winery run by Paul Gordon, who Halcon Estate Vineyard is the source of one the best Syrahs in California. The extremely cool located Oppenlander Vineyard, which sits just 8 miles from the town of Mendocino, and comes from deeply (own) rooted vines, mostly clone 115, that makes up about two-thirds of this 2017 vintage, with the remains one-third being Pommard. Gordon, who had the help of Scott Shapely, the talented winemaker who crafts Gary Franscioni’s Roar wines through the 2017 vintage and the Oppenlander has that feel about, with pretty serious fruit and a nice sweet toasty wood note backed up with some whole bunch savory tones and good natural acidity balancing everything out. The 2017 Oppenlander Pinot Noir, like a few of the Anderson Valley wines I’ve tasted so far is still primal and has loads of potential to become a thrilling wine over time, that said there’s a lot of pleasure to be had in its youth too with gorgeous purity of fruit, a touch of spice, mineral, earth and smoky wood. The layers unfold with crushed raspberry, plum and currant all wrapped around a core of cherry along with a mix of dusty and minty herbs, anise, forrest floor and a touch of vanilla. The body fills out with air a makes for caressing palate and while the aromatics are a bit muted at this point there seems to be an inner perfume of rose petals ready to come out along with a bit of pomegranate, both of which eventually come out from hiding in glass after 15 to 20 minutes.
Halcon Vineyards, again mostly known for their Alturas Syrah, also make of the most interesting Petite Sirah wines available with those grapes coming from the Yorkville Highlands and the terraced Theopolis Vineyard, as well as doing this well made Pinot Noir, along with micro bottlings of Roussanne, Mourvedre and a GSM blend, all of which offer high quality drinking for very modest prices. If you’ve not had these Halcon wines, it is way past time to discover them, especially the mention Syrah(s), but don’t overlook the Petite Sirah or this one either. Gordon utilized about 40% whole-cluster and this wine was aged in 20% new French oak barrel, then bottled unfined and unfiltered, with everything done as gently as possible and to allow the vineyard site to show through and to be an authentic and transparent Pinot Noir. The high amount of whole cluster and stems really adds to the energy and fleshy mouth feel and it should only get better and better with age, it also can be drunk with lots of food choices from blackened salmon to grilled meat as well as seared duck breast and or wild mushroom dishes. At about 13.3% natural alcohol this Pinot is refined and looks set to get even more silky, but still with depth, complexity and concentration, it’s luxurious stuff with a lovely ruby dark hue and admirable length and grace to impress most any Pinot fans. I am going to hide a bottle from myself with a time capsule note to open in just under a decade and see what emerges from the bottle, I am thinking it will be very rewarding indeed.
($35 Est.) 92+ Points, grapelive