There’s been a lot of buzz about the vintage 2011, how it was rainy and cold and “difficult.” Well, I am going to say without qualification that it yielded some of the most exciting wines of my career, both for my brand and for several of my clients. Why? For nearly twenty years, I have been telling anyone who will listen that my favorite California vintages are those which, at least in terms of the resulting wines, capture the generosity of the Californian climate without losing the energy, structure and freshness of the best old world vines. For this spring, I have two:
2011 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay: I’ve been trying for several years to fine tune my Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. While the La Cruz vineyard is a naturally late ripening, high acid site, the wine always has a surprising degree of ripeness and body. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but my personal tastes lean a bit towards crispness and minerality. 2011 naturally gave that kind of wine. Some citrus blossom notes, a little richness from aging on the lees, subtle oak and bright acidity. It’s pure, just the way I like it. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I got about half what I usually get, so there are only 110 cases this year. $33/bottle Order here...
2011 Hirsch Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir: I’ve written elsewhere that the 2011 season was a bit of a paradox—conditions that should have led to problematic wines but instead resulted in fresh, aromatic, complex, concentrated (but not “big”) and balanced wines. I’m super keen on my 2011 Hirsch. It is a little closed now, only showing a portion of the exotic spice and wild berry fruit that is typical of the site. What I like best about it is the energy and freshness on the palate. It has what some folks like to call “nervosity;” it feels alive and vibrant. Rare for California wine. 56 cases. $54/bottle Order here...
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