- Sep 7, 2012
This is one of those times.
In 2009, one of Anne Amie’s contracted vineyards erroneously picked a large block of Anne Amie’s vines, in record time, no less. Unfortunately, their block was not the one the harvest workers were supposed to pick — the grapes were not ready. It was a disaster.
To compensate for their error, the vineyard management company offered winemaker Thomas Houseman a few tons of Annahala Vineyard Pinot Noir, another one of their premium properties. Terroir geeks like us may recognize the Annahala as Californian, not Oregonian. From the Anderson Valley, in fact, arguably the hippest place in California to grow Pinot Noir right now. And it’s where Thomas fell in love with Pinot, which ultimately led him to Oregon.
Serendipity? Wrapped in lightning bolt, perhaps.
Thomas jumped at the opportunity, and eked out a meager 300 cases of this one-off Pinot Noir, a tribute to his winemaking roots that displays the deft touch and agility this former ballet dancer has in the cellar.
The Annahala Vineyard is located adjacent to the famous Goldeneye Vineyard, halfway between the little hamlets of Philo and Boonville on Highway 128. Taking advantage of the cool Pacific Ocean air that funnels from the “Deep End” of the Anderson Valley, Annahala is ideally situated to produce world-class Pinot Noir.
The grapes were hand-harvested into small totes, destemmed into 2-ton open-top fermenters. The cold-soak lasted for five days and the must began fermentation spontaneously. Fermentation was complete in 10 days, then the wine was pressed back into two-ton tanks, settled 48 hours and racked into French oak barrels. The wine aged in oak for 18 months (62% new oak), racked into neutral oak after 10 months. It was then blended and bottled unfiltered and unfined, and bottle-aged for 12 months before release.
Chance, happenstance, serendipity, whatever you want to call it, has granted us this exciting opportunity to taste something that will never be made again. Jade from Vinecraft visited Anne Amie recently, and noticed the Annahala bottling hiding in a corner. After extended begging, Thomas relented and popped a bottle. After another round of even more pathetic pandering, they caved and granted us a miniscule allocation of this accidental wine.
“Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of sweet cherries and raspberries. In the mouth cherry and raspberry fruit have an aromatic sweetness that is grounded by faint cedary tannins and hints of dirt. Great acidity. Juicy and delicious.”
— Vinography.com, 9.0 to 9.5 out of 10
“Bright red. Fresh red berry and cherry aromas and flavors are complicated by notes of Asian spices and cola. Bright and racy on entry, them fleshier and deeper in the mid-palate, offering intense bitter cherry and black raspberry qualities on a long, spicy finish. This is a one-off bottling for this Willamette Valley-based winery.”
— Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, 90 points
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
— Yogi Berra
Just a handful of six-packs are available for the Sunshine State. Contact us for an allocation.
Vinecraft distributes and represents Anne Amie wines in Florida.