2019 Drew Family Cellars, Pinot Noir, Mid-Elevation, Mendocino Ridge.
The 2019 wines from Drew are immediately pleasing on the palate, feeling opulent and supple in texture and more dense in fruit than you’d expect, especially when compared with the 2018s which are very slowly opening up, but still have tons of inner energy and age worthy structures, as this 2019 Mid-Elevation Pinot shows with a fine layering of dark fruit and bright acidity. The medium bodied palate revolves around black cherry, huckleberry, red currants and cranberry fruits along with delicate floral aromas, saline, mineral tones, subtle wood notes and a array of tangy herbs and spice, the results of a native yeast and a partial whole cluster fermentation. The Mid-Elevation comes from vines set on sloping hillsides with deep sea bed marine sediment soils, with mainly decomposed sandstone, with all organic farming methods and saw a range of clones, including 943, Calera, Swan, Pommard and Dijon 115 selections. Typically, winemaker Jason Drew, employs about 20% Whole Cluster and is retrained in his oak use with this wine seeing about 12% new oak in the final blend, all of which is to promote transparency and purity of form and flavors. This beauty of a Pinot Noir, that was aged 11 months in mostly well seasoned barrels, feels and tastes nearly perfect with just about 13.3% natural alcohol delivering an excellent balance here in Drew’s Mid-Elevation Pinot, a wine that has the grace of a Burgundy, but that is expressively cool coastal Californian in personality.

The Drew Mid-Elevation Pinot Noir is Drew’s Mendocino Ridge appellation wine made with the aim to showcase the coastal ridge sites of western Mendocino County, all in the Mendocino Ridge AVA, rather than having a focus on any one vineyard. This bottling celebrates the importance of the regional character of the far western side of the Anderson Valley, where Drew calls home, and the unique profile this terroir imparts on the wines here. The Mid-Elevation, Drew explains, equates to the middle elevations in the AVA, 800 to 1400 ft up and within about six miles from the ocean, adding that, these elevations are closer to the fog line coming off the Pacific resulting in cooler maritime temps throughout the season allowing for a longer ripening period and proper acid structure. This 2019 Mid-Elevation Pinot, with its dark garnet/ruby color in the glass, really excites the senses and is fabulous and flexible with food, in particular dishes like blacken salmon, roast chicken and lighter meat dishes being very good choices to match up with the complexity of this wine. As mentioned, Jason Drew is crafting some of the state’s best Pinots, all of which I highly recommend, but he also has added a stellar Chardonnay to his lineup, along with two Syrah bottlings, a Valenti Ranch and Perli Vineyard, both being coveted Northern Rhone style wines. I suggest getting on the mailing list, but also I advise buying these Drew wines whenever you come across them, plus I am thrilled to see they have some 2021 vintage Pinots available, these are on my Xmas wish list!
($36 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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