2016 Drew, Pinot Noir, Mid-Elevation, Mendocino Ridge.
For the third vintage in a row, Jason Drew just might be California’s best producer and wines are spectacular in delivery, substance and expressive with an amazing sense of controlled tension, these 2016’s are full of energy, precision and depth of fruit, without question they are some of my favorite wines (Syrah & Pinot), with this lovely value priced Mid Elevation an early star in the lineup. Mid-Elevation is an appellation blend of several sites in the Mendocino Ridge (85%) plus Anderson Valley (15%) that lie between 1,200-1,400 feet in elevation. Drew considers this zone their sweet spot within the coastal ridges for structured Pinot Noir(s) as they are closer to the fog-line which is typically at 900-1,000ft, allowing for opulent layers and brilliant acidity, it really makes the wine pop in the glass as this wine clearly shows. Five vineyards make up this cuvee, 50% Drew Estate, 12% Valenti Ranch, 12% Perli Vineyard, 12% Fashauer Vineyard and 15% Wendling Vineyard with a selection of Dijon and Heritage clones that include 667, 828, 115, Pommard, 943, Swan, and Rochioli, Jason then fermented with partial whole cluster, with 15% in this vintage, using native yeasts, then barrel aged in mostly used French oak (only 15% new) for about 11 months. Brilliant in detail and lift, the Mid-Elevation 2016 Pinot is bursting with flavor and dynamic transparency with a deep garnet/ruby hue in the glass showing a lovely floral tone and muted wood that leads to a medium weight palate of black cherry, tangy summer berries, pomegranate, purple plums, cran-apple and dark currant fruits along with a hint of orange/minty tea spices, pine pitch, mineral, light touches of wild mushrooms, cinnamon and flinty loam. This textured and youthful Pinot only previews the greatest of what we can look forward to in the single vineyard wines to come from Drew, this Mid-Elevation is a stupidly good value, it has complexity, beauty in fine and delicate focus, balanced brisk acidity and satiny tannins that form it’s structure, it shows a ripe and potent personality, but with a Burgundy like natural alcohol coming in at 13.4%, which belies it’s impact and presence in the glass. If you really want to taste California at it’s best, Drew is a must, the level of expression and class is off the charts, these are wines the rise above and are pure seduction, search them out! The 2016’s may not be as concentrated as 2013 or 2015, but they more than make up for that with their overall performance, they have a polish that allows early drinking, especially this one, but I see potential in mid term cellaring, drink between 2019-2026.
($32 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive

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