2017 Eden Rift, Pinot Noir, Terraces, Cienega Valley, San Benito County.
The wildly expressive, perfumed and complex inaugural release of Eden Rift’s Terraces Pinot Noir, 100% Calera heritage clone, comes exclusively from the estate steep Q-block, part of a section of limestone terrace plot that has prime south exposure and enough elevation to receive the cool ocean breezes, making it the most version from the winery, and the best wine to date from this new project in the Cienega Valley. The Calera clone vines, got from Calera itself, as the property is just a mile away or so, produce extra small berries and intense flavors and with the dramatic day to night temperature change and the fabulous calcareous soils deliver ripe fruit density, but with vivid natural acidity, allowing the wines to be generous and graceful on the palate, as this one certainly is, as well as having poise and balance. Crafted by Cory Waller, who’s brother is the long time Calera winemaker and native son of the region is one of the emerging youthful talents, has put Eden Rift on the map with his 2017 vintage, and the 2018 looks even better still, so this is a winery and winemaker to keep an eye on. That said, this 2017 Terraces, a late release, is really good and worth investing in with it’s layered mouth feel and exciting medium/full palate that shows rich blackberry, succulent cherry, plum and pomegranate fruits along with wild mint, liquid flowers, a hint of sweet toast and mineral tones. Gaining depth with swirls in the glass this dark garnet and ruby edged Pinot is less reductive than the neighbors version and its fine tannins make it highly entertaining and joyous to drink in its youth, while it does have structure and loads of energy from the partial whole cluster, it should age well too.
The Eden Rift property, one California’s earliest homesteads under vine, dates back to 1849 and is a historical site with a parcel of old vine Zinfandel, along with a few other black grapes, like Carignan, known as the Dickinson Block that was planted in 1906. A visit to the winery recently was a revelation, it is an amazingly beautiful place and the hillside terraces are spectacular in the dramatic landscape that is out here in the remote wilds of San Benito County, and while a trek to get here it is worth a day trip to taste along the Cienega Valley wine trail. As mentioned above, Waller chose a special selection of Calera clone lots to make this 2017 Terraces Pinot, while the main estate bottlings include a mix of Dijon and Heritage clones with Mount Eden and Swan there, going with 38% whole cluster, fermented with native yeasts in open top temperature controlled tanks with gentle daily punch downs. The wine after primary was racked into just seven barrels where it went through secondary and raised for close to 10 months before going into bottle unfined and unfiltered, Eden Rift decided to bottle at that point to preserve the lovely aromatics and then they held it back in the cellar for an extra period of time to allow it to find its feet and I was thrilled with their results and I can’t wait to see how it develops, it has a deep sense of fruit and has a smooth/silky feel, but in the background the tiniest pop and spicy bite of stems gives me some idea that there is more to come in 3 to 5 years. This is a winery that has big ambitions and the potential is on display in this Terraces, and I think their Chardonnay is wonderful too, plus as I reviewed prior Eden Rift has a fun and crunchy carbonic Pinot Noir, the Eden – A – Vent, it’s a wine that I’m hooked on, as well as a nice Summer sipping dry rosé of Pinot Noir.
($64 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive