This is everything we hope for in an exceptional Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. This newly released vintage, made by Stéphane Vivier, is stunning. Gap's Crown Vineyard, tucked on the western hillside of Sonoma Mountain, is fanned by the cool ocean breezes that push through the Petaluma Gap. Their block is between 980-1180 feet above sea level. This is one of Stéphane's favorite grower vineyards because of the long growing season, rocky soil, and maritime influence. Sultry and smooth as silk, this 2018 offers aromas of light spice, violet, and vibrant red fruits. Dense, elegant, and racy on the palate, it shows texture and refinement with fresh raspberry and spice underneath. It lasts on the palate and should be a very rewarding wine to age for at least a decade.
While you might not have heard of Stéphane Vivier, you have probably heard of Aubert de Villaine, owner of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti aka DRC, one of the most sought-after Burgundy producers in the world. Working side-by-side at HdV Winery, which is owned by relatives Larry Hyde (of Hyde Vineyards) and Aubert, Stéphane oversees the winemaking efforts for this Napa Valley winery and it’s here where I first met Stéphane. I later learned of his own winery, Vivier, which specializes in producing high-quality Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and think it’s one of the most Pinot projects today.