Grapelive: Wine of the Day November 19, 2019

2017 Drew Family Cellars, Pinot Noir, Estate Field Selections, Mendocino Ridge -photo grapelive

2017 Drew Family Cellars, Pinot Noir, Estate Field Selections, Mendocino Ridge.
Jason Drew’s Pinot and Syrah are some of the State’s greatest wines on offer these days and his estate, located just 3.3 miles from the ocean at close to 1,250 feet in elevation is in Mendocino Ridge appellation at the most western end of the Anderson Valley is the source of some amazing Pinot, like this open knit and lush wine. The site was carefully chosen after years of research by Drew and his family live on the property, which looks like paradise on earth with steep vines and even some heirloom apples, from which they do a crazy good dry cider. The Drew Ranch is farmed, as they state proudly, to the organic standard continuing a long history of organic farming on their ranch that dates back close to 30 years.The climate and soils are about as ideal as one could find for a Pinot Noir vineyard in California with ancient ocean floor soils of decomposed sandstone and shale, high in iron and quartzite with a perfect ratio of sand, gravelly loam and clay that helps provide the material for those gorgeous wines. The marginal fertility, as Drew puts it, combined with excellent water holding capacity and good drainage makes for an extremely compelling site that is planted to a selection of clones including Pommard, 943, 115, Swan, 667 and Mt. Eden. I have long been a fan of Drew’s wines, even before he set up shop in the Anderson Valley, when his wines came from mostly the Santa Barbara area. Jason and his wife Molly Drew started Drew back in 2000, as they note, with a clear pursuit in mind, they wanted to craft small lot, cool climate wines that express site distinction and traditional varietal character, and they have achieved that in spades with an amazing lineup of wines that enjoy their California terroir, but remind of old world versions with the Pinots being very Burgundy like in authentic and soulful way and the Syrah getting their style from classic Northern Rhone character.

The brilliant, ripely forward, youthfully plush and ethereal 2017 Estate Field Selections Pinot Noir from Drew is outrageously good in the glass with a beautiful ruby/crimson hue and a bouquet that includes rose petal, wild herb, ripe red berries and earthy elements that leads to the medium bodied palate of racy raspberry, plum and pomegranate layers that lift the black cherry core of Pinot fruit along with subtle oak toast, tea spices and mineral tones. Drew hardly uses new oak, usually under 20%, native yeast and employs partial whole cluster in his fermentations, he is a master at his craft, making wines of depth and balance that rivals any in California and in Burgundy. Jason has learned winemaking in both hemispheres and holds a Graduate Degree in Enology from the University of Adelaide. His CV includes several notable names in northern and central California, having worked at wineries and vineyards including St Supery, Joseph Phelps (with Craig Williams), Luna, also in Napa Valley (with John Kongsgaard), Carmenet, as well as with the legendary Cathy Corison and Babcock Vineyards with winemaker Brian Babcock. Drew Family Cellars has to rake up there in the top ten small American wineries, maybe even the top five in my book, these last 5 vintages at Drew have been unbelievable and the 2017 releases are majestic offerings, especially the Morning Dew Ranch Pinot, the Perli Syrah and in particular this stellar Estate Field Selections Pinot, which saw Drew’s favored traditional winemaking practices with hand punchdowns and no fining or filtering to showcase purity. Drink this one over the next 5 to 10 years and savor its heavenly class with an array of cuisine and, like all great wines, that last sip is something that will haunt you and make you crave it like a first love.
($60 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive