2016 Poe Wines, Pinot Meunier, Van der Kamp Vineyard, Sonoma Mountain, Sonoma County.
The hugely talented Samantha Sheehan, who founded her own label Poe Wines in 2009 and known for her beautiful Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, also produces traditional Champagne method sparkling wines, a Rosé, as well as the mentioned Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, along with a groovy nouveau from Pinot Noir, plus this old vine Pinot Meunier. This 2016 Pinot Meunier is from the famed Van der Camp Vineyard, on Sonoma Mountain, which is not far from the legendary Hanzell above the Sonoma Valley. I am a huge fan of Sheehan’s wines, and while she continues to be somewhat under the radar, she has a great following and respect from her peers, with her latest set of wines being everything you’d ever want in a modern California, read: new generation, wine, like her Manchester Ridge Pinot Noir, which is truly awesome! As she notes, she created Poe after being inspired by the wines she tasted in Burgundy and Champagne, she adds that the goal of her wines, is not to replicate Burgundy, but rather create alluring, vineyard specific, age-worthy wines that reveal the beautiful terroir(s) of California. It’s her desire to highlight individual site through minimal intervention, judicious use of sulfur, and never any additives to showcase purity and delicacy of flavors in these unique vineyards and regions. Van der Kamp was planted in 1953, making it the oldest Pinot Noir vines (still producing) in California, with Sheehan’s block of Meunier being planted more recently in the early nineties, Poe’s vivid and lifted version might be one of the best I’ve tried with wonderful lightness, but surprising in depth and complexity. Coming from very top of the eastern side of Sonoma Mountain, at a 1,400 foot elevation looking down on the town of Glen Ellen to the east and Bennett Valley to the northwest, Sheehan’s Meunier has mountain grown intensity. Sonoma Mountain was once part of the Pacific Ocean floor, and has diverse mix of soils, including “Speckles” loam, volcanic tuff and decomposed ancient seabed with crumbles of fossils, all of which gives this wine it’s array of flavors and character. Bright and tangy with pretty black cherry, racy plum and spiced raspberry fruits explode on the youthful palate along with red pepper, anise seed and dried flowers, mineral tones and dusty clove. This Meunier can hold it’s own against some fine Pinot Noirs, but has a fun personality and maybe doesn’t come across as serious as it certainly is, the lingering rose petal, mulberry and kirsch are gorgeous reminders of this wines charms, it gains an earthy element, but everything is lifted much in the same way you would experience a Burgundy or Cru Beaujolais with no obvious oak presence to be found. This is an impressive effort for this varietal and it should age well, it’s acidity and mountain fruit structure looks to have some age worthiness, drink over the next few years.
($38 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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