I’ve been having such fun experimenting with new releases of California Chardonnay. I feel like the modern expressions of the grape has come to vary so widely that gone are the days of this white wine’s stereotypes — the new norm is the ab-norm. And while this Chardonnay does reflect those “classic” characteristics, and may not be to everyone’s palate, it does have a fresh take on an old look and certainly has its time and place when paired with the proper meal.
This was my first experience with Scheid Vineyards—a winery I’ve heard a lot about and isn’t far from my home base. When I had the opportunity to interview Dave Nagengast, director of winemaking for Scheid, for an article in Wines & Vines December/January Collector’s Edition, I was intrigued by the innovative spirit of the winey, and my interest piqued even further. Luckily (and completely coincidentally), I was contacted by the winery’s PR rep about sampling the wines. That would be an enthusiastic yes…
If you’ve been reading along all week, then you’ve noticed that each day I’ve featured a separate single-vineyard, single-varietal Pinot Noir from Goldeneye. And if you haven’t, I strongly recommend reading about the winery’s The Narrows, Split Rail, Confluence, and Gowan Vineyards before moving on to this review. This Pinot Noir is simply entitled “Anderson Valley.”
Goldeneye winery was established in 1996 by the proprietors of Duckhorn Vineyards, Dan and Margaret. While Duckhorn stakes its claim on Bordeaux varieties grown in Napa, The Goldeneye label is all about Anderson Valley’s claim to fame: Pinot Noir. Cool climate, marine influence—yes and yes. But the area has such varied topography and diverse soils that each vineyard really does have something different to say, each Pinot Noir wine markedly special.
Well this “Anderson Valley” Pinot Noir is a blend of the various Goldeneye Anderson Valley estate vineyards. Tasting them separately and then as a blend was a fun kind of tasting experiment for me. And I just have to add that this is not the case of “left over” Pinot Noir blended away. No, this is the case of what makes a winemaker a winemaker—mastering the art of the blend.
Goldeneye’s Split Rail Vineyard is located in the Anderson Valley AVA of California’s Mendocino County. Located in this ocean-side AVA the vineyard is, of course, influenced by maritime climate. But, according to the winery, this vineyard also enjoys a varied topography of slopes and benchlands. Split Rail is planted to 16 different blocks of Pinot Noir and nine different clones.
Goldeneye’s Confluence Vineyard is situated in the center of the Anderson Valley AVA, located in Mendocino County in California’s north coast. Adjacent to the Navarro River, the vineyard is comprised of a range of soils, including benchland and gravel strata, and is exposed to varying terrain from hillside slopes to protected pockets. The vineyard, planted completely to Pinot Noir, offers specificity when it comes to clonal planting, with each nook and cranny offering up its own unique expression of terroir and ultimately crafting a well-rounded, rugged red wine that does indeed taste of the valley floor.