2018 Pinot Noir
2018 Rivers-Marie Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
% alcohol per volume
2018 Rivers-Marie Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.1% alcohol per volume
As Riddle Vineyard goes, so goes this wine. With maturity this site has taken on a lot more density at much lower brix levels. Not only do we feel that provides a more accurate snapshot of Sonoma Coast but it also reflects the general development of the region. It wasn’t that long ago that every wine felt like it featured new vines freshly cultivated and variable in quality due to the challenges the coast provides. Now we feel we are routinely dealing with 15, 20, and 30 year old vineyards, young by old world standards of course, but stable and mature in this area. Riddle is a perfect example of this maturation. The wine is more concentrated without being heavy or tiresome. The fruit profile is varied, running from red to purple to black with an intense perfume that in younger years had to be pulled out with bottle age. In this vintage, tannins are abundant but ripe and round helped by small additions of most of the single vineyards.
2018 Rivers-Marie Bearwallow Vineyard Pinot Noir
14.2% alcohol per volume
We’ve been working with this deep end Anderson Valley site now since 2015 and have quickly whittled done our single vineyard bottling to one block. We have always loved the E2 section of the vineyard and focusing on this one area has provided what we think is our most complete Bearwallow to date. Addition through subtraction in this case has produced a high toned, more pure red fruited wine with notes of crunchy red apple skin, cherry compote and menthol. The aromatics are very developed with floral tones of rose petals and violets jumping out first followed by black tea and mint. Some of the savage nature of previous editions has been replaced by a more focused minerality on the finish.
2018 Rivers-Marie Silver Eagle Vineyard Pinot Noir
14.3% alcohol per volume
With a line up of Calera, VR and Swan clones, Silver Eagle now has a firmer, less fruit forward character than years past. The addition of 15% whole cluster in this vintage also makes this the most structured wine in the line up. The wine leads with a savory edge of tobacco, grilled nuts and dried flowers. Sweet red cherries, plum, licorice, leather and spice dominate the palate. There’s only 10% new oak here so the character of the vineyard in this vintage really shines through. We’ve been at it here since 2009 and feel extremely fortunate to be presenting our 10th edition of this site from Ulises Valdez and his family.
2018 Rivers-Marie Occidental Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir
14.2% alcohol per volume
This feels like an anniversary themed mailer as this vintage represents Summa Old turning 40 and Summa and Occidental Ridge turning 20. This past year I’ve been thinking a lot about how the next generation will routinely be working with 50-70 year old Pinot and Chardonnay vineyards throughout Sonoma Coast. I have to admit that makes me a little jealous as I do believe vine age makes a tremendous difference with those two varietals. We are just beginning to see it with Occidental Ridge and the regular Summa bottlings as the consistent excellence of these two sites shines through in diverse vintages. Occidental Ridge in particular continues to ratchet up its intensity level while preserving the cool fresh fruit character and naturally high acidity that has become its hallmarks. There’s more of everything here but all in equal proportion. Pennyroyal mint and pine needles contribute a savory edge to complement the mostly black fruits of the vintage. There is once again a 10% whole cluster addition that adds texture and cut to the mid-palate.
2018 Rivers-Marie Platt Vineyard Pinot Noir
% alcohol per volume
Even we were a little late to realize how good the 2017 version of this wine was. Maybe it was the small case production and therefore lack of opportunity to open bottles that created this but we made up for it after realizing our mistake. Coming into this release, I’d say the 2017 Platt is certainly one of the top 5 Pinots we have ever made. The 2018 eclipses that wine. It’s the closest thing to Burgundy I’ve ever tasted in California and not in the way most people think. The nose is what takes me there, that little bit of brooding, Burgundian reductive funk that both promises early intellectual intrigue and long life in the cellar. It drinks like a wine that needs to be unwound. The palate is savory and gamey, with a really dark fruit profile. Tannins here are abundant due to the thick skins of this wind buffered block. The only thing missing in this wine is quantity.
2018 Rivers-Marie Summa Vineyard Pinot Noir
13.6% alcohol per volume
I felt like this was the most complete wine in the lineup at bottling and that continues to be the case today. At 20 years of vine age, there is no longer an impression of this being the baby Summa bottling. Better farming and vine maturity have eliminated all the holes found in previous editions of this wine. It has also provided nuance that makes this wine more and more similar to its Old Vines sibling every year. This once again is richer and a little deeper than that wine but it is beginning to catch up on the ethereal side of things. There’s a lightness that cuts into the richness which provides a mouth-watering freshness to the palate. Red fruits, citrus peel, cut hay, sandalwood and clove complete the experience.
2018 Rivers-Marie Summa Old Vines Pinot Noir
13.3% alcohol per volume
I could write a note on the aromatics alone for this wine. It literally features every aromatic descriptor we have ever used for this bottling: sandalwood, pine needles, black tea, orange peel, forest floor, pomegranate, violets and crushed rock. That’s a lot to take in on just the nose. The palate is its normal backwards self, another edition that will best be enjoyed with at least 5 years in the cellar. At 40 years old, the vineyard is still improving producing much more consistent wines even in more challenging climatic conditions. We have been replacing underproducing vines in this block every year since 2015 and have every intention of preserving this coastal jewel. There are occasional vintages where another bottling may outshine the Summa Old bottling but this will always be the flagship of the project.