Drew Gatekeepers Pinot Noir 2009
Pinot Noir from North Coast, California
The concept of The Gatekeepers has always been about synergizing two excellent but markedly different sites from opposite sides of a single appellation. In this case, the appellation is the very exciting Mendocino Ridge AVA. Both vineyards qualify to be in the Mendocino Ridge as they are both ridge-top vineyards above the minimum 1,200 ft. requirement and are both less than 10 miles from the ocean. In other words both sites receive lots of wind and cool sunshine hours. As the fog typically sits at the 800ft level, any vineyards above that line receive more sunlight hours, yet those hours are cooler from the natural air conditioning of the fog. These two stellar vineyards include Manchester Ridge Vineyard and Perli Vineyard, both absolutely worthy of single vineyard designates but when they meet, they elevate each other in an undeniable marriage.
There are too many words to describe this wine here but just think along the lines of these few descriptors and not in any special order: Rose stems, sandal wood, quince, pomegranates, cherry gelato, minerals, red pepper corns, carpaccio, a newly cut dozen roses, hints of fresh spearmint…. The flavors are lively with floral notes, wild red fruits, spice and sweet earth. The tannins and acid are very much in line with classic fruit weight. An elegant high altitude, coastal Pinot Noir!
Only 450 cases produced
International Wine Cellar - "Deep ruby. Deeply pitched aromas and flavors of cherry, dark berries and red plum. Suave and velvety on entry but surprisingly lively, displaying bright red and dark berry flavors and a hint of bitter chocolate. The structured finish features good peppery lift and subtle notes of mint and anise. I like the way this wine evolves in the glass. "
Wine & Spirits - "Jason Drew sources fruit for this wine from two vineyards, Perli and Manchester Ridge. It leads off with scents of rose and raspberry, along with an undertone of walnuts and pumpkin. Full ripeness builds the richness and sweetness of the flavor, while tannins hold that sweetness in check. Full-bore pinot noir, this is built for steak."
Jason Drew began his winemaking odyssey in 1980, when he helped plant his uncle’s vineyard in the Stag’s Leap District of Napa Valley. Jason then pursued an education based on the land – in Agricultural Ecology, Viticulture and Enology. A passion and philosophy grew during the early years, when Jason managed world-class vineyards in Northern California.
2004 was a milestone year, when Jason and Molly purchased property on a ridgetop overlooking Anderson Valley to the east and the Pacific Ocean 3 miles to the west. Jason's instinct was clear that this property has the potential for Pinot Noir greatness! They spent the following year designing and building their boutique winery and moved in for the 2005 harvest. Research is currently under way for Drew's first estate vineyard. View all Drew Wines
About North Coast
Beyond Napa and Sonoma in the north you find a couple of other counties producing great wine. Among these are Mendocino and Lake County. The northernmost California winegrowing regions, these two counties are right above Napa and Sonoma, geographically. Yet, wine-wise they are very different – both from their southern neighbors and from each other.
Notable FactsMendocino has a high amount of organic vintners and vines. The first winery to settle here was Fetzer, which practices organic viticulture and holds some of the most vineyard land in the area. Mendocino has many pockets of micro-climates while Lake County, being smaller in size, is less diverse climactically. As for the grapes, Chardonnay is the most popular in both counties, but there are also some excellent Sauvignon Blancs, particularly in the Lake County. In red wine, Zinfandel leads the way, followed by Rhone Blends and Petite Sirah. The reds in both counties are complex and sumptuous. Anderson Valley is a sub-AVA of Mendicino and is quite well known for its excellent cool climate, producing the delicious Roederer Estate sparkling wines and some wonderful cool-climate Syrah.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.