(2021) A blend of four Pinot Noir clones, 31% Dijon 667, 29% Pommard, 20% Dijon 115, and 20% Swan, destemmed and fermented in stainless steel followed by ageing in French oak, 46% new barrels. A rich and fulsome Pinot, 14.5% alcohol and ripe, but not without finesse and a certain elegance. The nose has graphite and some herb and briarwood notes, but there is refined black fruit too, plenty of it, compote and a hint of cherry to give some freshness. In the mouth that balance of substance - fruit extract, tannin and chery-pit acidity - but a savoury, quite agile quality too. Long, fresh and focused on fruit and acidity in the finish.
(2018) From young vines a fruity and youthful style - Andy says "You cannot make profound wines from very young vines." So this is aimed at early drinking and is apparently very popular as a by-the-glass wine in upmarket restaurants. It comes from an old massal selection of vines. Only 10% sees oak, and I thought it had just lovely buoyant cherry and red plum fruit, nice spice and a touch of tobacco. Similar palate, juicy and vital, delicious tang and cherry flesh and juiciness, finishing with a kirsch like intensity but lovely balance and energy. OK, not the layering of the other Pinots perhaps, but delightful.
(2016) From the Doña Margarita vineyard on the Sonoma Coast, maturation was in French oak, 36% new. Fine, soft ruby and earthy colour, plemty of plum and spices, a tobacco and clove spice with chocolate tones too. In the mouth it is full and generous, suede-like texture and ripe chocolaty tannins against the pert acidity, but a fine truffly Pinot sweet earthiness propels it into the finish. This should cellar well, but is delicious now. Note, price is per bottle when purchased as a six-bottle case.
(2016) What a superb, aromatic and perfumed Pinot this is from the Don Miguel Vineyard in the Russian River. Farmed biodynamically, the vineyard is mostly planted with the Swan Pinot clone, with 30% Pommard, and 10% Dijon clones. This wine is aged in French oak, 40% of which is new. The nose really is gorgeous, framing seductive berries, violet and sweet exotic spice with some earth and woodland truffle notes, before a palate that ripples with cherry and sweet red fruit, an undertow of spice and chocolate, and smooth as silk tannins against the pretty acidity. Terrific and will probably age well for a decade.
(2014) Crossbarns is not a second wine as such, but an entirely separate label with its own winery (based in an old apple barn). "It's its own entity with its own winemaking staff," says Paul. It uses "Hand-me-down oak from the Paul Hobbs programme," with very little new oak. There's a small percentage of whole bunches with stems in the fermentation and maceration. Very good, deep colour, with an intense cherry aroma and incense-like notes of spices and Sandalwood. The palate has just deliciously focused fruit. There is also spice, a touch of briar and rhubarb/sappiness, and delicate floral notes amongst the power of the tannin and alcohol firmness. Lovely length with deep layers of flavour and texture.
(2014) There is a touch of Sonoma Coast fruit here too - up to 15% for a Pinot made in small, wide open top fermenters, all hand punched. All fruit picked at night again and this has a higher percentage of whole clusters, than the Crossbarn, as well as around 45% new oak. Meatier, deeper, more towards the mellow autumnal notes, more towards pure plum and chocolate, but also a subtle underpinning of truffle. The alcohol is 14.5%, but it does not show too much, with little notes of fragrant, ashy quality, a touch of cedar, a touch more grippy in the tannin structure too. Power and concentration, but not too much as it retains balance.
(2014) The La Masia cuvée is fermented in stainless steel and aged in French oak barrels, 32% of which were new. The vineyard is planted with six clones of Pinot Noir. It is a smoothly aromatic wine where a keen juiciness is suggested of cherry and raspberry, but with an exotic tobacco and spice background and something almost pear or peach like in the mix. Lovely stuff on the palate, the thick seam of spiced black fruit is solid and supple, but that wreathing smokiness and tingle of peppery spice is there, with fine, but rich and chocolaty tannins and good balancing acidity. Lovely, powerful with 14% alcohol, but has real freshness.