2019 Three Furies Wines, Pinot Noir “The Angry One” Santa Lucia Highlands.
I recently got a chance to meet up with and taste with Three Furies Wines Kiwi winemaker Martin Mackenzie who is crafting some beautiful wines, like this one from the Tondre Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands with its silky elegance, textural richness and ripe depth of flavors impressing me. Martin says his wines are an extension of his curiosity and quest for truth, power, and beauty in wine, which definitely comes through from the SLH grapes, making for a dark and complex Pinot with black cherry, brambly raspberry, sweet plum and strawberry fruits as well as hints of mocha, cinnamon, tea spice, rose petal and a touch of sweet smoky toast. This ruby and garnet hued Pinot has presence on the plush palate and the mouth feel is already excellent, as are many of the 2019s and highlights both the vintage and the region very successfully, making for a distinct and compelling wine that is well worth searching out. Martin says he loves the hints of violets, sage, licorice and cedar that lurk beneath the cranberry, blueberry and the core of cherry fruit here, and I can agree, as this wine opens there’s a lot to admire, it is an extremely pleasing effort. This Three Furies Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir will certainly appeal to those that like the classic wines of the region, like those by Roar, Lucia and Siduri, and I am looking forward to see how this label does going forward.

The personal project small label Three Furies Wines are all handmade by Mackenzie, a New Zealand native ex-pat, and who once crafted wines for the world-renowned Stonyridge Vineyard on the remote Waiheke Island for ten years before moving on in 2009 to California and head winemaking jobs here. With more than a decade of experience here and having explored many of California’s terroirs, Martin starting sourcing top sites to craft his Pinots, including a top notch site in the Sta. Rita Hills and Tondre Grapefield in the SLH, plus a soon to be released, secret as of now, location in the Sonoma area I believe. The Tondre, with its interesting selection of clones, including Pommard and Dijon clones makes for a richer and more powerful style Pinot, which Martin says has great cellar potential, vinous generosity and volume to rock you. Set on well draining sandy loams, Tondre always makes for forceful and expressive wines, with this one coming in at 14.5% natural alcohol and showing concentration of fruit, some grip with velvety tannins and an inner brightness that all these top Santa Lucia Highlands Pinots seem to possess. Aged in French oak, with a well judged percentage of new wood, this Angry One by Three Furies Wines looks set to reward those that like to put a few bottles away for 3 to 5 years. This Tondre 2019, the 2018 and the Sta. Rita Hills “Constant Vengeance” all are seriously good, with maybe the Tondre 2019 an edge ahead, getting my nod as the favorite, but not by much, such is the quality here!
($85 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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