Volcanic Pinot

This winery was sold and I’m not sure who is producing from the vineyards or the brand. You *might* find a few bottles lingering on shelves in Redding or Red Bluff in Norcal, but that’s about it. From the now Manton Valley AVA, a tiny wine-producing region at the southern end of the Cascade Mountain range coming down from Oregon. NOT Sierra Foothills, though the comparison and confusion is understandable. Always loved these wines, a bit rustic, but expressing great typicity of variety and volcanic source.

Brownish amber in the glass, the red rocky soil and conifer-influences are distinct. Grown at slightly over 3000 feet, they are snow-covered in winter with the edges shaded by towering forest–south-facing slopes absorbing near-100-degree summer days with nights dropping into the 50’s. Barnyard and flaccid cherry in the nose, a green-spice vegetal–here advanced by age–brighten and solidify the pure Pinot essence. It is a well-fruited wine, not burdened with the heat and pruny flabbiness often found in Sierra Foothills wines. Pinot is not a dominant variety in Manton Valley, but they do a good job here and it is too bad these wines are not better known. Tasting this a a world-class event like WOPN or something would be eye-opening for a lot of folks. The wines almost come off like classic Oregon in their citrus-tinged vegetal.

Gorgeous in the mouth, the mountain berry and delicate floral are perfectly integrated into a thin, clear entry. At 9 years old, the tannin still punches you in the face early-on, barely letting the juicy middle unfold in your mind. As with most new-world Pinot, tertiary does not take the shape of deep leathers or thick tobaccos, but rather a wet-newsprint, celeriac sort of loaminess, though the polish on this one definitely runs dusty velvet. Delightful bitter spirit frames the finish, a dry, rasping gasp of terroir-driven liquid perfectly applied to bottle. These are absolute gems, and I am glad I have a stash of them for the next few years. Find them if you can.

2011 SHASTA DAISY VINEYARDS Pinot Noir Manton Valley AVA Tehama Co. California 13.9


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