Peake Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills
This wine is a magnetic collision of heirloom clones grown on opposite hillsides of a small ridgeline that that bisects the Peake Vineyard. On the less radiant morning side of the hill lives a pinch of beautiful Block 14 Hyde Clone Pinot, while on the more baked afternoon side is home to a couple acres of Block 11 Calera Clone. The Hyde Clone has been in California viticulture for as long as I can remember, and is responsible for producing a plethora of great Sonoma County Pinots over the years. Recently I have seen it starting to pop up in some of the newer plantings of the Sta. Rita Hills. After emanating from the old Calera Vineyard in Hollister California, the clone that now bears its name is potentially related to my in-house Psi Clone, whose origin is from the same illustrious source. With the soils on each side of the hill essentially the same, each of the two beginning cuvees had a definite sense of kinship, and blending them together was a no-brainer. While both cuvees were dark and rich, I’d say the Hyde Clone had a more acute sense of dark fruits, while the Calera Clone was all about earth and spice. As with everything else on the Peake Ranch, both deliveries of fruit were perfectly farmed, catering to the specific climatic influences on each side of the hill. This is now a very complete Pinot Noir with aromas that range between jammy fruits and Sta. Rita spices. The tannins are very fine but tight on the palate, and should continue to promote the wine’s growth for years to come. While it can be enjoyed now with food—think pork or lamb—I would ideally give it a few years so that it can migrate from good to stunning.