Occidental Bodega Headlands Cuvee Elizabeth Pinot Noir 2014
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Occidental is Steve Kistler’s pinot noir project with a singular focus – to make world-class pinot noir from unique sites on the headlands in the Freestone-Occidental area. Since the early 1990s, Steve Kistler has believed that the climate and soils on the uplifted marine terraces and ridges around the town of Bodega would be ideal for growing distinctive and Burgundian-style pinot noir. Steve founded Occidental as a small, family brand in 2011, and built a state-of-the-art winery just east of the town of Bodega overlooking the Pacific Ocean. He now works alongside his eldest daughter, Catherine. The Occidental vineyards represent the western edge of where pinot noir can be successfully grown in California. Steve and his team at Occidental now farm 85 acres of pinot noir vineyards in the Freestone-Occidental area with great skill and commitment. The Occidental pinot noirs are crystalline wines with vivid aromatics and intense red-fruit flavors. They have a wonderfully chiseled quality, layered with savory and mineral character.
The Sonoma Coast AVA is large in area but, not counting overlapping regions like Russian River Valley, only has a few thousand acres of grapevines—and it’s no wonder. Much of the region is rugged and not easily accessible. Its proximity to the Pacific Ocean’s fog and cool breezes limits the varieties that can be cultivated, but it proves to be an ideal environment for high quality Pinot Noir.
Since fog is a frequent fact of life here, as are heavy marine layers that sometimes bring rain, the best vineyards are wisely planted above the fog line, on picturesque ridges that capture enough sun to provide even ripening. That, with the overnight drop in temperature that reliably preserves acidity, results in fine expressions of Pinot Noir that often receive tremendous critic and consumer praise alike, and are often in high demand.