2016 "The Habitat" Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
I am drawn to the difficult. When I was much younger I spent a week off attempting to read the entirety of James Joyce's Ulysses. I made it about halfway through.
Growing grapes and making wine can be confounding too, and as opaque as Joyce. But in farming and winemaking, you can't just "put down the book." We know a lot about grapevines and how best to tend them but there is still a lot we don't understand or can't control. Winemakers will tell you lots of stories about what makes a certain vintage or a certain vineyard great but the truth is we don't always know. You need to do the right thing and have faith that your site, your farming and your winemaking are leading you down the right path. That's what makes it so exciting when the wine comes out well!
2016 was one of the best vintages for Pinot Noir in the Sonoma Coast in many years. That combination of generosity and tension that I always cite as the highest achievement for California wine is present in abundance in all my 2016 Pinots. It made them a little slow to open up after bottling but they are really singing now. The 2016 Habitat is deeply colored and highly concentrated, but with fruit extract, not oak or tannin. Yet for all its density, it is light on its feet. I couldn't be happier with the result. $45
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