2019 Drew, Pinot Noir, Mid-Elevation, Mendocino Ridge.
The just released 2019 Mid-Elevation Pinot Noir by Jason Drew is a beautiful and youthful wine of great detail and purity, wonderfully bright, a bit juicy and serious on the palate with ripe Pinot fruit, spice, mineral tones and racy herb notes that showcase the vintage and highlights the edgy partial whole bunch fermentation, making for a wine that delivers depth and exceptional value. I love the dark electric ruby/garnet color and the aromatics as the wine goes into the glass and the fresh vivid flavors on the medium bodied palate with layers of black cherry, tart currant, tree picked plum, brambly raspberry and strawberry fruits, a hint of pepper, rose petals, a fine saline note, cinnamon, cola bean and dried celery root as well as a subtle faint oak accent. This wine has much more to offer and will certainly gain dramatically over the following few years in bottle, but that said it is still easy to love now and those that love primary and vibrant wines will not be penalized by popping the cork on this lovely wine, even though it will reward the more patient. It is an important preview to the vintage, which looks outstanding with complex fruit density and good acidity that makes for exceptional structure, especially for Pinot Noir, similar to the previous 2018s and in some ways I wouldn’t rule out them actually being better. As the Drew Mid-Elevation Pinot opens in glass it constantly changes like most great wines do giving every sip another revelation and sensation, adding more clarity, range with richer fruit intensity and earthy/savory (crunchy) elements emerging and more of a heightened floral bouquet over an hour or so. The Fall and Winter releases at Drew are a must for enthusiast wine lovers, these transparent Pinots are simply fantastic with a real sense of place, they will make believers of the Burgundy only fans and the Valenti and Perli Syrahs here are classic Northern Rhone style efforts and some of my favorites and have been for a long time.

The Drew Mid-Elevation Pinot Noir is the winery’s Mendocino Ridge appellation Pinot Noir, sourced from two sites in 2019, both set on the area’s oceanic sedimentary and sandy loam soils and its cool climate. Drew says the mission with this bottling is to showcase distinct character and profile that these coastal ridges of Mendocino Ridge give his wines, adding he wants to express these qualities in an elegant and mineral driven Pinot Noir, which this wine achieves, making it a gateway wine to both the region and to Drew’s stunning collection of offerings. The two vineyards used for the Mid-Elevation Pinot, the estate Faite De Mer Farm and the Valenti Ranch Vineyard in this blend, are planted to a variety of clones including 115, 667, 828, 943 and the Mt. Eden heritage clone, as the winery notes, makes for some undeniable synergy. All of vines lie between 1200-1450 feet above sea level in the mid elevation of the parcels on these breezy hillsides, hence the name, and both are within six miles to the Pacific Ocean, close to the fog line, adding length to the growing season and with its moderate maritime conditions retaining a crisp acidity and allowing for lower natural alcohols. Drew employs all organic farming methods these days and a gentle touch in the cellar with 100% native yeast fermentations with this wine and vintage seeing close to 35% whole cluster and stem inclusion with just two gravity flow rackings (to clarify this wine that ages on its fine lees) with close to a year in mostly used French oak, this year got just 6% new wood. I jumped ahead a little when I opened this one, as I am still just beginning to explore Drew’s cru 2018 bottlings, which are as mentioned, some of the greatest wines available in California, like their Morning Dew Ranch Pinot that I recently reviewed, if you’ve not got a chance yet to try Drew, this is a great time to get started, be sure not to miss these Pinots and the Syrahs. The delicious 2019 Mid-Elevation Pinot, if opened near term, excels with either gamey dishes like duck breast with berry reduction and rosemary lamb as well as wild mushroom risotto and or seared pepper crusted Ahi.
($32 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive

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