2016 Drew, Pinot Noir, Wendling Vineyard, Anderson Valley.
This Wendling Vineyard has really come into it’s own, especially when made by the talented Jason Drew at Drew Family Cellars and this 2016 Pinot Noir is an absolute beauty, it’s deeply colored and intensely flavored with an impressive array of black and blue fruits, this again just highlights the unbelievable level of quality that these recent vintages of Drew show, I honestly can’t think of a better set of wines being made in California! Wonderfully fresh and with lively acidity, which heightens the experience, even in it’s early stages of development this Wendling Pinot makes a stunning palate impact and it has an amazing mouth feel and length with big cat like velvet covered muscles ever present, subtlety showing a spring like tension and gives you notice that this is a very serious wine. Wendling sits in the most westerly section of the Anderson Valley at about 450 feet of elevation, it’s well drained soils and Pacific Ocean influenced cool climate allows for a longer growing season and full maturity in the grapes comes late and with lower natural alcohol (just 13.5% in this case), but with a darker profile and with Grand Cru class density and complexity, it’s not an old site at 10 years old, but it is proving to be an elite vineyard. Drew’s version has a mix of suitcase clones, rumored to be some DRC and La Tache, along with modern 667 and 115 Dijon(s) grown on a unique soil make up locally called Ornbaun, Wolfey and Bearwallow types with the Ornbaun series consisting of deep, well drained soils formed in material weathered from sandstone and mudstone as well Ornbaun soils are on hills and mountains that have slopes of 9 to 75 percent, Bearwallow is sandstone and shale and Wolfey is thermic shallow loam, which all allow an amazing of purity in the wine, as is the case here. Drew used no new oak here, going for native ferments with about 30% whole cluster in this vintage, achieving his goals of showcasing the natural form that comes through on the medium full palate that flows with black cherry, plum, huckleberry/blueberry and tart currant fruits, along with framing mineral notes, a mix of forest mushroom, cedar, bright spice including cinnamon, nutmeg and almost a paprika like bite (stems?) as well as a hint of flinty smoke and vanilla. The color is saturated with rich garnet and ruby hues and the nose, which is slow to unfold gains a floral attack as well as berry fruit plus a hint of savory/saline stoniness, this I cannot stress strongly enough is world class stuff with a unique personality and stunningly rich and textural (mouth feel) detail, it’s awe inspiring Pinot, this not a lineup to miss any of from Drew, I must also mention patience will be rewarded here as well, the potential in this Wendling will be worth waiting for, hiding a few of these bottles away for 5 to 10 years seems a good idea! There’s a lot of wow here, Drew is on fire, don’t miss out on his Syrah and Pinots, they are without question some of California’s best.
($60 Est.) 96 Points, grapelive

By admin