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Ojai Vineyards, Puerta del Mar Santa Barbara Pinot Noir 2015
Pinot Noir 100%
Puerta Del Mar is our little six-acre vineyard way out by Lompoc, even further west than the Sta. Rita Hills. Constant coastal breezes come up the last river bends here and make for mild days when it's warm just a short drive inland. The gentle ripening here provides a graceful, transparent pinot noir with great delicacy that draws you into the glass.
There's a gorgeous ruby red brilliance to this 2015. Woven into the juicy tapestry of cherry and red berry flavors are the familiar elements of the exotic vineyard character here: cardamom, palo santo, white pepper, orange peel and salty minerals. An appealing streak of danker forest-y aromas, like the peaty scent of a shaded Big Sur creek, brings some earthy ballast into the mix too.
Years of drought brought low yields to the site in 2015, as drought stressed our vineyards with salty buildup on the vine roots, putting quite a damper on vigor. So, this 2015 brings a nice bit of fruity gravity to the lifted, spicy appeal of this pinot noir.
It's a different kind of pinot noir than the sweet, black renditions your father got excited about years back, and that's a great thing! Puerta Del Mar offers radiant aromas and delicious food-friendly mineral tang just a perfect complement to a roast chicken, or cedar-plank grilled salmon if you feel like spoiling someone.
Vinification: Fermented with destemmed fruit. Barrel Aging: 11 Months in French Oak barrels, 25% new. Total Production 560 cases
Adam Tolmach, a viticulture and oenology graduate of UC Davis, started the now infamous winery with fellow employee Jim Clendenen in 1982, Au Bon Climat. After nine years together Jim and Adam decided to follow separate paths. Having planted his own vineyard in Ojai in 1983 (The Ojai Vineyard), Adam decided to concentrate his efforts there. Experimenting with new plantings, new areas, and a wide selection of varietals. Adam set his intention to strive to make the very best wines possible, through quality and unique sites over quantity and mass-produced blends. Craft principals with a mindful intention. It took some 10 years to produce really exceptional, consistently delicious fruit. Adam took steps to convert the farming from sustainable to organic practices whilst fine tuning the winemaking process to as natural as possible; minimal use of sulphites, avoiding fining and filtration, also reducing new oak usage as much as possible. Adam's influence in the region and the respect from his peers is worth mentioning, where some sites are exclusive to their owners, often Adam will be one of the very few with privileged access, examples being Puerta del Mar (Jonata) and White Hawk (Sine Qua Non). After spending two decades learning to farm better grapes, physiological ripeness was not an issue anymore but over ripeness was. When grapes were ripe but not overripe, the resulting wines were more aromatic and possessed finer balance. After more experiments the following years Adam started picking his fruit slightly earlier, opening a new stylistic era for his wines. Years of experience and humble dedication to his craft, showed him how the cooler climate sites were always better balanced and more expressive terroirs, in search of elegance. 'Great vineyards have something unique to say, it's our job to capture those characteristics in a clear, unadorned way.' Adam Tolmach
Wine Advocate 92pts (2015) - The 2015 Pinot Noir Puerta del Mar offers up aromas of raspberry, cassis, currant leaf and lilac. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, fine-boned and savory with velvety tannins, a crunchy core of fruit and a long, sapid finish. This is one of the more reserved offerings in the portfolio, and I’d be inclined to cellar it for a year or two before pulling corks, though it can be approached now. 2018-2028
Vinous 92pts (2015) - The 2015 Pinot Noir Puerta del Mar comes across as a bit edgy and tightly wound. Then again, that is the personality of this cool-climate site near the Pacific Ocean. Intensely savory and mineral, the 2015 is going to need at least a year in bottle to unfurl. Even so, expect it to remain somewhat angular and austere in its expression.
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