Monday, January 2, 2017

Cool Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

Lazy Creek Vineyards is under the umbrella of Healdsburg's Ferrari Carano Winery. It’s located about an hour north, in Mendocino county's Anderson Valley. It is at this facility is where their full Pinot Noir production is centered.

A recent online tasting session introduced the 2014 Lazy Creek Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir to a group of wine writers, myself included. We were all provided samples of the wine for review. The session was moderated by publicist Chelsea Kurnick and featured winemaker Christy Ackerman. You can see the Ustream broadcast page here.

Ackerman makes all of the Lazy Creek Vineyards wines, and all of the Pinot Noirs for Ferrari-Carano. She says she feels "very lucky" to work with Pinot Noir in general, and especially the grapes from the Lazy Creek estate vineyards.

Ackerman says the thing that makes Anderson Valley special is that it is "cooled by the ocean but at the same time protected from the ocean."  The cooling marine influence, so critical for growing perfect Pinot, is mitigated by the landscape. The best of the ocean is brought home without the harshness of the sea directly.

Owners Don and Rhonda Carano describe Lazy Creek Vineyards as one of the smallest, and oldest wineries in Anderson Valley. They bottle a Gewurztraminer and a rosé, but all the rest are Pinot Noirs.

"The majority of the estate ranch at Lazy Creek Vineyards is planted to 36 acres of Pinot Noir; of special note is an 8-acre block with a miniscule average yield that’s said to be the oldest Pinot Noir vineyard in California. These grapes produce Lazy Creek’s Estate Pinot Noir. All of the Pinot Noir blocks are planted specifically to different clones, including Heritage, Dijon (such as Pomard, Gevry Chambertin and Romanee Conti) and California clones (Swan, Martini, Calera and Clone 37).  The soil and varied terrain on this ranch provide a dramatically different flavor profile for each Pinot Noir block."

The Anderson Valley climate is cool, Pinot Noir cool. The 2014 Lazy Creek Estate Pinot Noir shows a medium dark tint and has a nose of blackberry, coffee and cola. The fruit is big enough on the palate, but it definitely has co-stars in the more savory players. Cola takes a bigger turn in the flavor profile, while a hint of black tea bubbles underneath. It has a great structure, firm but easy, and pleasant acidity. It finishes medium long. It sells for around $60.