Alban North Pinot Noir 2016
I named our Pinot/Chardonnay vineyard North because that exposure shapes the fruit; just as coming from Northern Ireland has greatly shaped me. As much as winemakers love to talk roots, and geography, there is so much more to any great wine. John is very attentive to fostering and protecting all the unique aspects of the North vineyard but he has no preconception or bias as to what is ‘supposed’ to come out of that block. You’ve all likely heard or read him rail about the idea of noble grapes, pedigree, and appellation: he believes that nobility in wine, and people, is an achievement, not a birthright.
2016 North Pinot Noir is a singular and unique wine with gun powder, broad shoulders, blue and red fruits, and a graceful finish. There may be no variety that rivals Pinot in the certainty of its zealots as to ‘what it’s supposed to be.’ All I can say is I’m certain what this Pinot was meant to be; and that’s what we bottled. It’s not shy, but the same has been said of me…
Alban Vineyards is the first America winery and vineyard established exclusively for Rhone varieties. Conceived at a time when there were virtually only two "flavors" of wine produced in the U.S., they set out to introduce wine grapes that would offer oenephiles a new world of possibilities. Pioneering Roussanne, Grenache Noir and Viognier to go along with meticulously selected clones of Syrah, Alban Vineyards has guided consumers and producers to the enormous potential of Rhone varietals in California.
California’s coolest wine growing area, Edna Valley excels in the production of high quality Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Rhône Blends and aromatic white wines. It has a cool Mediterranean climate and an incredibly long growing season, giving late-ripening varieties plenty of opportunity to develop great phenolic complexity.
Its northwest to southeast orientation creates a direct path for cool Pacific air and fog to penetrate the valley from the Los Osos and Morro Bay area inwards. Low hillsides of both calcareous and volcanic soils are home to much of the vineyard acreage of the Edna Valley.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”