2013 Mail Road, Pinot Noir, Mt. Carmel Vineyard “Blocks 3, 5” Sta. Rita Hills.
As winemaker at Screaming Eagle’s sister winery Jonata and making the Hilt wines Matt Dees has made a name for himself and his new Mail Road wines are gorgeous, especially the Mt. Carmel Pinots and in particular this 2013 Mail Road Mt. Carmel Vineyard Blocks 3 & 5 Pinot Noir, which comes from organic, own-rooted, heritage clone site in Sta. Rita Hills made famous by Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton at Brewer-Clifton in the late 1990’s and later by Raj Parr and Sashi Moorman at Sandhi Wines. Mail Road is a project owned by Mt. Carmel owner Ronald Piazza and Michael Palmer who brought in the ex-Staglin trained man Dees to craft small lots of ultra premium Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from this Cru, and after tasting the wines I am sure these will be highly sought after wines, these are not cheap wines certainly, but they show a remarkable sense of purity and inner energy that remind me of the early Brewer-Clifton classics from this amazing vineyard with glorious detail and class. Interesting Matt Dees, known as a naturalist or non conformist in his winemaking style, took a more modern Burgundy route with his set of Mail Road wines and this Mail Road Blocks 3 & 5 Pinot was 100% de-stemmed, cool fermented with seems like native yeasts and aged in French oak, with about 40% new, for almost year in the barrel. I must say the oak is well integrated and even subtle with just a hint of toastiness and vanilla sweetness in the background, you get elegant layers of silken red fruits, spice and floral tones that impresses for texture and length in a medium bodied Pinot. With air the wine gains weight, presence and intrigue, this stuff is stunning when unwound in the glass, showing a darker and more dense side, but still vibrant and focused with black cherry, plum and dark berry fruits along with hints of coco, violets, rose liqueur, mineral notes and chalky and dusty elements, finishing with lovely saline, light anise, tangy and vibrant red peach/currant/strawberry. A cut of acidity helps lift this wine and it’s refined/satin tannins providing a solid core that leads me to believe this Mail Road Blocks 3 & 5 Pinot will age with potential to improve even further, this can be considered an outstanding wine to cherish over the next decade, it delivers the Wow factor!
($105 Est.) 94+ Points, grapelive

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