2019 Drew, Pinot Noir, Faîte De Mer Farm, Mendocino Ridge.
The deeply color dark garnet and ruby edged 2019 Faîte De Mer Farm Pinot from Jason Drew at Drew Family Cellars is a thrilling wine of energy and complexity, it absolutely exceeds my expectations from this hugely talented winemaker, one of the state’s biggest stars and this incredible vineyard location that makes for some of the most compelling examples of Pinot Noir in America with a beautiful array of radiant fruit, heightened aromatics, delicate spices, subtle earthiness and brilliant clarity. I’ve long been a fan of these Drew wines and consider them among the very best produced in California and these 2018 and 2019 efforts are some of their best yet with their extreme cool climate character, low alcohol, natural acidity and wonderful length really shinning through. The 2019 feels a touch more rounded and sublimely elegant with lovely floral tones and surprising vinous density for a lighter framed wine with layers of classic Pinot fruit, including black cherry, wild plum, tangy red currant and strawberry coming through on the medium bodied palate along with a touch of whole bunch crunch, mineral/stoniness, cinnamon, orange tea and a fait sense of wood. The Faîte De Mer Farm is crafted from a unique set of clones including Mt Eden, Calera, Swan and Pommard selections and sees partial whole cluster and native yeast fermentation, after which this Pinot sees an elevage of about 18 months in French oak with a percentage of new barrels to give that supple mouth feel, but to allow for purity and this wine’s fabulous transparency. Lingering crushed berries, rosewater and youthful brightness with a touch of stems adds a sultry edginess that leaves you wanting for nothing!
The Faîte De Mer Farm is the Drew’s family estate that is located on the far western part of the Anderson Valley on the edge of the Mendocino Ridge appellation just over three miles from the Pacific Ocean and it is the coolest in their portfolio of stunning vineyard sites. Up at 1,250 feet elevation, the Drew estate vines are, as Jason notes, often just above the fog line, but there are times when they are completely engulfed by it. The soils are formed from an ancient uplifted ocean floor, it is made up of mainly of decomposed sandstone mixed with gravelly materials that include shale, quartz and rounded river rocks from some uplifted creek beds, along with a varying percentage of clay. These soils, Drew explains, elevation and the maritime climate, along with the coastal forest that surrounds the area, are what defines this terrior and influences these Drew estate wines. Drew is now making three distinct estate Pinot Noir offerings, with the addition of this exceptional Faîte De Mer Farm bottling from this special organically farmed coastal site, which is fast becoming one of California’s signature crus. This wine is one of the best values in Drew’s stellar collection and I highly recommend getting on their mailing list, with their Fog-Eater, Morning Dew Ranch, Wendling Vineyard, Mid-Elevation Estate and this Faîte De Mer Farm Pinot being some of my favorites and are well worth your efforts to find, plus don’t over look Drew’s awesome Syrah(s) and their Chardonnay either. Fans of these dramatic Ocean influenced Pinots, like those of Littorai, Peay, Hirsch and Cobb, will be rewarded by these Drew wines. This Faîte De Mer Farm Pinot Noir was a perfect bottle to start the Thanksgiving Holiday and holiday celebration, it kept getting better and better as it opened, adding more depth and class with time in the glass, it has the potential to age exceedingly well too, bravo, what a performance.
($45 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive