Poking Around Pays Off: Sensational 2013 Pinot Noirs from Wind Gap

4/27/15 -

Tasting through new releases from California, we consistently find Pax Mahle's Wind Gap label on the wines we think are the most vibrant and intriguing expressions of the Sunshine State’s cooler corners. At this year's In Pursuit of Balance tasting - a yearly event focused on exposing the potential for freshness and restraint in California Chardonnay and Pinot Noir - the 2013 Pinot Noirs from Wind Gap topped our wish list.

Spanning three single vineyards - one from the Sonoma Coast (Sun Chase) and two from the Santa Cruz Mountains (Woodruff and Amaya Ridge) - they are intense and structured yet subtle, with energetic fruit, vibrant acidity, and elegant herbal tones. Mahle vinifies them all the same way (whole cluster fermentations, raised in neutral French oak) in every vintage and vineyard. Tasting all three wines at once, it is hard not to believe that the exciting variations of Pinot Noir spice, flowers, and earth evident in these wines are a potent transmission of site.

Gaining access to these wines is not always easy. Production is minimal. Distribution channels dictate that retail stores play second fiddle to restaurants in securing sought-after and limited bottlings. We rely heavily on our wholesale suppliers to hear our requests and (ideally) find a way to grant them. Some suppliers never come through, despite our persistence. And then there are the consummate professionals, who take notes, plan ahead, and (in extremely rare cases) spend extra time snooping around on our behalf!

We recently received an email message entitled "Poking around pays off..." from one such consummate professional, who graciously alerted us that a handful of these wonderful 2013 Pinot Noirs were available earlier than expected. So we jumped at the opportunity to offer them today! The Sun Chase, in particular, will not arrive in the New York market for some time, so we recommend that you grab a bottle (or three) and enjoy a sneak peak at this exceptional trio of wines. Ariana Rolich

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