2015 Anthill Farms, Pinot Noir, Campbell Ranch Vineyard, Sonoma Coast.
The outstanding dark garnet 2015 Anthill Farms Campbell Ranch Pinot has really evolved well in bottle, and now in 2023 it is showing everything you’d want from a maturing wine with sultry array of flavors and aromatics, this is beautiful and transparent stuff that reminds me a lot of the recently tasted Domaine Dujac Chambolle-Musigny showing ripe fruit, savory elements and expressive wild herbs, woody earthiness and enchanting florals. Satiny and supple on the medium bodied palate, there’s still a vibrant freshness due to this vineyards cool climate location near Annapolis on the far west Sonoma Coast, which always retains natural acidity. A minimalist approach in the cellar and gentle handling of these exceptional grapes are an Anthill Farms signature, along with employing indigenous yeast and partial whole cluster fermentation(s), and the wines see lengthy maceration periods with a gentle handmade feel in small lots. The aging is done in mostly used French oak, all to promote terroir, elegance and Pinot purity, which is extremely evident here in this nicely maturing 2015 Campbell Ranch. The Campbell Ranch Vineyard, once farmed by the late Ulises Valdez, is true maritime site, much like Hirsch, one of the state’s best spots for Pinot, and McDougall Ranch, made famous by Jamie Kutch, elevation also helps, which is close to 750 feet up, rising just above the fog, while staying cool. Campbell Ranch was originally planted in 2000 with a selection of Dijon 667 and 777 clones on ancient low vigor marine sediment soils that reduce yields and add depth and concentration, making for taut dark wines that take time to develop fully, but well worth the wait as seen here!
As mentioned here, Anthill Farms got its start when Webster Marquez, Anthony Filiberti, and David Low crossed paths while working at Williams-Selyem, they kept in touch and a few years as cellar rats in California, Oregon, and Virginia they started the cult Pinot label Anthill Farms in 2004. They have made a name for themselves by focusing on mostly single site Pinots from cooler vineyards in California’s western Sonoma Coast as well as Mendocino, along with some Chardonnay and northern Rhone style Syrah, which I really love. Filiberti has grown into one of California’s best winemakers, with his gifted touch with Pinot, and he also has made in recent years, the wines at the famous Hirsch Vineyards. His work at Anthill Farms showcases his talent with much like his contemporaries Ross Cobb, John Raytek of Cerritas, Jamie Kutch and Jason Drew, and over the last decade his wines have been some of the most prized and sought after in the state. This Campbell Ranch, the Peters Vineyard and their Comptche Ridge, usually are my most favorites in the Anthill Farms collection, but I am as mentioned a big fan of the Syrah too, these are wines I cannot resist, thanks to my friend Alex Lallos for sharing his last bottle with me, especially as I have finished off all my 2014, 2015 and 2016s, which had been saving. Never easy to find, the Anthill Farms wines are coveted prizes and enthusiast offerings that really are distinctively different from each site they use, with this Campbell showing brambly spices and a touch of celery seed with a core of cherry, plum and strawberry fruits, and it opens up with wilted roses, saline, black tea, subtle oak and lingering cranberry. While absolutely seductive on its own, it will pair well with a variety of cuisine choices from blackened salmon and ahi to game birds, this 2015 is in a fabulous window, time to pop the corks on this one.
($54 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive