This is new, special, and deserves some space for background. After retiring as CEO and Chairman of Hewlett-Packard, Lew Platt became a top-level executive at Kendall-Jackson, where he honed a passion for great wine and made connections with world-class vineyard and winery professionals. After his mission there was complete, he and his wife, Joan, committed themselves to growing world-class grapes for a few lucky wineries. At the time, we had very few examples of Pinot Noir under our own label so they trusted in what I had done with Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon for ourselves and with Pinot Noir for others. Whether it was more experienced management sense on their part or just simple trust that allowed this, I am grateful for it and have tried to maximize the potential of the grapes from ‘our’ blocks. Tragically, Lew died suddenly and unexpectedly before a single grape could be harvested. Joan has seen to it that Lew’s dream continues.
This is our first vineyard designate release from this fine vineyard, and the last new Pinot Noir release from 2007. The vineyard is located outside the coastal town of Bodega, where that famous Alfred Hitchcock movie ‘The Birds’ was filmed. Raccoons proved to be more of a hazard as they ate the entire first vintage of the few vines that bore fruit for the first year. By the time we made this wine there were more acres of fruit bearing grapes than raccoons.
We are one of the very lucky few wineries working with the Platt family and their viticultural team. It is a convergence of viticultural commitment, experience and cooperation with the winery. The man who designed the vineyard, Daniel Roberts, and I first met while we were both interviewing for the same vineyard manager position in 1984 [he got the job]. We worked together for a short time after that until I got my first head winemaking job. He is a frustratingly tireless perfectionist.
The wine: Amazing complexity, with the red, black and blue fruits all take turns playing lead while more subtle elements: mild earthiness, minerality and supporting oak play harmony. It has incredible depth and texture considering its transparency to its subtle elements. This site, while sunny, is spared excessive heat, so the fruit can be quite exposed to the sun without cooking it (in most of the Russian River Valley, we are careful not to over-expose the fruit in accordance with its typical expected climate conditions.). Actually, in such a cool, moist coastal location exhibitionism of one’s fruit is desired to avoid rotting of the (wine) grapes. One of the results is surprisingly dark (wine) color. However, it is not so cold as to prevent an amazing degree of physiological development of these Pinot Noir grapes. Everyone who has tasted this wine has really been attracted to it. Critics are no exception. Burghound Issue 36: “This is first-rate and highly recommended. 93” and Tanzer’s IWC by Josh Reynolds: “Quite lush and concentrated 91( ?)”