2020 Drew Family Cellars, Faîte de Mer Farm, Pinot Noir, Mendocino Ridge AVA, Anderson Valley, Mendocino County.
The 2020 Faîte de Mar Farm Pinot from Jason Drew is bright and sharply tart at this stage and shows a crunchy youthful array of flavors with cherry, cranberry, plum and brambly red berry fruit, along with zesty herbal notes, black tea, orange rind and mineral, in a lighter framed cool climate style of wine. This new and entry level estate Pinot bottling by Drew, is as the winery explains, encompasses the whole vineyard in this cool climate on the western end of the Anderson Valley, in the higher up Mendocino Ridge zone that is only a few miles from the Ocean. The Faîte de Mer Farm Pinot Noir includes parcels planted to the full range of clones, as the Drew’s add, includes Dijon 115, 667, 943, Pommard & Calera selections set on Ornbaun, Zeni, Yellowhound complexes, which are incredible soils and this Pinot reflects the sum of these complex parts. This vintage, which was lucky to be free from the terrible smoke and fires that affected many other regions in the state, produced a ripe and firm structured wine with bit of raw tannin along with Drew’s low natural alcohol. The 2020 Faîte De Mer Farm Pinot Noir saw a 100% native yeast fermentation with 40% whole cluster (and stems) and was matured in well seasoned neutral French oak barrels for close to 11 months, making for a pure, vibrant and transparent wine with just the right amount of green/savory elements.

The Drew Family Faîte De Mer Farm, as mentioned, is located on the far western edge of the Anderson Valley that lies only 3 and a half miles from the cool Pacific Ocean, tucked into the extreme Mendocino Ridge appellation along the northern coastal range. This organic coastal estate is up at 1250 ft elevation and is the closest vineyard to the ocean in Mendocino County and the coolest site and, as the winery says, it therefore has the longest growing season of all the vineyards in their awesome collection of wines. The soils here are ancient ocean floor that was pushed up during tectonic collision between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate forming this coastal range with a mix of sandstone and deep sea stone. So coupled with this maritime climate and coastal forest surroundings, these Drew wines really capture the sense place or terroir, and while this 2020 is tightly wound, it shows glimpses of the huge potential these vines have to offer. The Drew’s, Molly and Jason have delivered over the past tens years some of the greatest wines ever made in California, with a focus on Pinot Noir, but their Syrah bottlings are stellar examples as well, and more recently their Chardonnay is proving excellent and should not be missed. Jason Drew planted this vineyard and he farms it with holistic methods, all to showcase the unique expression this region provides him and he makes the wine with a gentle hand, as this beautifully ruby hued Faîte De Mer Farm puts on display. Not as opulent at this stage as the 2019s were, the 2020 vintage needs plenty of air and is best with food, it was much improved on day two.
($45 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

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