This is everything we hope for in an exceptional Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. This newly released vintage, made by Stéphane Vivier, is the best Pinot Noir we’ve tasted from him to date, which is saying a lot considering the recent quality of the 2018 and 2019 vintages. 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. The 2021 is bright ruby red with a nose that combines fresh blackberry, violet, crushed stone, exotic spices, intriguing earth and mineral tones. On the palate, it is silky but firm with a mineral spine, giving shape and grip to the flavor. It is a precise and balanced wine with lasting fruit and floral tones. 201 cases were produced.
While you might not have heard of Stéphane Vivier, you have probably heard of Aubert de Villaine, owner of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, 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 oversaw the winemaking efforts for this Napa Valley winery and it’s there where I first met Stéphane and Aubert de Villaine.