Welcome to the Stannary Wine USA En Primeur Release. In a year when it has not been possible to get to the US we have relied upon the tutored Zoom tastings to learn what has been happening on the other side of the Atlantic. The ravaging of the American hospitality sector has thrown up a small silver lining for us Brits; access to wine. Stannary’s original allocation from Anthill farm was a mighty eight cases, and now we are up to fifty. This has been somewhat counterbalanced by the miniscule size of the 2019 vintage, but there is hope for the future. Lockdowns haven’t completely prevented us from uncovering new findings with the Hirsch release last Spring, and in this offer, we are pleased to bring you the wines of Michael Cruse, and the second wine of Continuum, Novicium, for the first time.
Making generalisations about a country the size of the US, or even California, will inevitably be flawed, but the 2019 vintage is heralded by all as being very high class and one that has produced wines of great ageing potential. The arrival of rain in the winter gave the vines the desperately needed drink that all were praying for, whilst the cold winter and spring provided rest and hibernation. May rain on the Sonoma Coast could have been disastrous, but the slow start to the year meant that the late flowering was missed by some three weeks. From May onwards, right up until harvest, the weather was mild and sunny without any damaging heat spikes. This made for a relatively stress-free harvest with slow maturation and a dry, mild September, leaving the picking decision as a less precarious one than normal. The resulting wines are red fruited, exuberant with elegant tannins. The story in Santa Maria and Sta Rita Hills wasn’t quite so simple, with the strong Pacific winds around flowering causing a severely depleted crop. The wine that was made is of the very highest quality, but this is a vintage for the patient. Beautifully balanced wines with great concentration but with a structure for the long haul.
Again, my message remains the same, and hopefully I might learn to follow my own advice; lay down the best of these wines as you would red Burgundy and you will be rewarded. My experiences of drinking Californian and Oregon Pinot with ten years of age or more have been amongst my wine drinking highlights of the past year. It is all too easy to enjoy the delicious ripe fruit in their youth but don’t be fooled, these wines have all the qualities that they need for longer maturation and they should be part of your Pinot cellar.