We recently brought a slew of new Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays into the shop and the path a few of them took to get here is pretty interesting. I’d like to use this week’s post to introduce them to you and tell you about their journeys to our shelves.
The Withers English Hill Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, 2016 $59.99 – A little over a year ago, I emailed The Withers Winery to see if they had distribution in Minnesota. I don’t remember why. I didn’t know who they were and I assume a guest asked me if we bring them in but at that time, they weren’t in the market. Then, a couple months ago Andrew Tow, the owner of the winery shot me an email letting me know that they just linked up with a distributor here and were about to launch their portfolio in the state. “Ok,” I thought “but “who’s The Withers” not remembering that I had reached out to them. We moved forward to set up a tasting with Andrew and one of our reps once he came to town.
Before we tasted through the wines I did a little more homework on the winery and their philosophy. My interest was piqued when I found out that the guy making the wine is David Low from Anthill Farms but when it came time to taste, I couldn’t believe how freaking good the wines were. I wasn’t the only one; a couple of my co-workers who have palates that I absolutely trust were equally excited about the wines and our rep just smiled, nodded, and giggled as he watched our heads explode. We ran through a couple Chards, some Syrah, a blend, a few Pinots and each one of them was absolutley exemplary. As spaces on our shelves open up, you’ll be sure to see all of their cuvées pass through our store but just so you know, the supplies won’t last forever and you might want to grab this bright and elegant style of a Sonoma Coast expression of cool climate Pinot Noir before the staff drinks it all.
Felton Road Bannockburn Central Otago Pinot Noir, 2014 $49.99 – We recently had a customer request a private New Zealand workshop later in the year and this got the ball rolling on what will likely end up being a pretty serious revamp of our New Zealand and Australia section. In looking for a mid-price Pinot Noir offerings for the shelf we tasted through nearly a dozen options and landed on this expression from Central Otago. The hunt will continue as we’re also be looking at a few more candidates from Hawk’s Bay, Wairarapa, and Canterbury before moving on to the next pet project. If you’ve read this far and thought to yourself, “oh I thought they only grew Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand” then read on.
Why did we choose this one? Well, we focused on Central Otago first because the Pinots from this region in the southernmost part of the south island are causing a bit of a ruckus. The region is one of the the coldest/hotest/driest/wettest/highest/lowest regions of New Zealand and naturally, their are pockets in this area that are producing mind-bending Pinot Noirs. This cuvée from Felton Road comes from the Bannockburn sub-region which is one of the drier and warmer sites in Central Otago and it shows with it’s ripe red fruit and dark fruit qualities and beautiful spicy, floral, savory aspects. This will seduce any Pinot Noir aficionado.
Brick House Evelyn’s Ribbon Ridge Willamette Pinot Noir, 2014 $74.99 – Full disclaimer: Not only have I never tasted this wine but before we ordered it, I didn’t even realize that it was such a big deal. We brought this in per a customer request and researching it has shown me that this is a highly sought after and often times allocated wine from the biodynamic producers at Brick House Winery. Based in Ribbon Ridge, on the western side of the Willamette. This cuvée is only made in exceptional years and is created with long-term cellaring in mind. It sees a bit more oak than the other cuvées and is said to have slightly higher levels of both acid and tannin. I’m considering a putting a couple down for my retirement party.
Matthiasson Linda Vista Chardonnay, 2017 $32.99 – As a Chardonnay at the pinnacle of balance, grace, and approachability, this wine features light oak, partial malo, fruit from the highly lauded Linda Vista Vineyard, a highly respected wine maker, and a price tag under fifty bucks. If you’re wondering why Steve Matthiasson seems to be either nominated for or winning awards every couple months for his outstanding wines, this might be a way to shed a light on that query.
Joseph Swan Saralee’s Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2014 $49.99 – We needed to round out our Russian River Valley Pinot Noir selection and Joseph Swan’s single vineyard expressions of this incredible region are, I believe, some of the best that can be found. The Saralee’s Vineyard offers gorgeous red fruit, spice and cola aromas with mouth-filling acidity and pretty firm tannins. You’d never guess that this clocks in at north of 14% ABV as it carries itself elegantly but with enough va-va-va-voom to be able to lie down for a few years before opening.
Thanks for reading and I hope to see you around the shop soon,