This vineyard burnt a few years ago and it appears no one has revived it. I always thought their Pinot on a level above even some of those from more-acclaimed regions in California, and getting down to my last couple bottles. This is Manton Valley AVA–way up north in Tehama County east of Redding–but before you go all: Sierra Foothills, which would seem logical–this is actually NOT the Sierras, but the southern tip of the Cascades from Oregon. Deep red, dusty, volcanic soil, at just about 3000′ feet with plenty of pine and fir influences. Snow and freezing all winter–warm and dry all summer, with evenings dipping to 50 degrees, it sets up a fairly pristine environment for quality grape-growing.
Heavily-bricking amber-garnet in the glass, a nose buttery and vegetal, showing a glorious polish of rich fruit one would expect from a pinot of this age. Cranberry and pie cherry–though fading–still carry powerful expression and lay in the bouquet with aplomb. Delicate leather and savory baking spice show a wine aging gracefully: still exemplary Pinot.
In the mouth, the fruit-gasm continues, surprising for such an unknown vendor, but top-notch expression. I wish everyone could taste this. It would blow you away. Smoky diesel, kale and arugula, match-head on fire, the dry ache of acid and mountain influences combining into un-ignorable tannin. The fruit is as pale as the body, but still manages a stream of bruised berry and salty mineral throughout. Finish literally never fades, only managing deviation as your throat processes such a magnificent liquid. At WOPN next week I’m going to taste a BUNCH of teen-age pinots from famous producers, and this will be better than all of them. I guarantee it. And nobody’s ever heard of it.
2011 SHASTA DAISY VINEYARD Pinot Noir Manton Valley AVA Tehama Co. California 13.9