Day One Pinot Noir 2021

Producer: Senses Wines
Region: Sonoma County
Appellation: Sonoma Coast
Country: USA
Classification: AVA
Wine Type: Red
Variety: Pinot Noir
Bottle Size: 750 ml
Alcohol: 13.6%
Residual Sugar: 0 g/L
Soil: Goldrige Sandy Loam
Awards: 97+-Lisa Perrotti-Brown
info@buyersandcellars.ca www.buyersandcellars.ca

Cellar Profile

Founded in 2011, Senses quickly became one of the most exciting wine projects out of the Sonoma Coast. Occidental natives and childhood friends, Christopher Strieter, Max Thieriot and Myles Lawrence-Briggs partnered with world-class winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown to produce coastal Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Beginning with only 100 cases in their inaugural vintage, Senses currently crafts a few thousand cases of single vineyard and appellation wines. Grapes come from many renowned and family-owned vineyards including the B.A Thieriot, Terra de Promissio, Dutton Palms and Charles Heintz sites. The wines are complex, intense in flavour and beautifully balanced. All wines ferment via indigenous yeasts and are neither fined nor filtered. In the past two years, their presence in the marketplace has expanded to include placements on the menus of many Michelin-rated restaurants throughout the United States, including The French Laundry and Le Bernardin.


Sonoma Coast is the largest AVA in Sonoma County, covering the mountains along the Pacific coast from the border with Mendocino County to the top of San Pablo Bay. Despite its name, the Sonoma Coast AVA stretches quite a long way inland. Climatically speaking, it is decidedly maritime and is cooler and wetter than the rest of Sonoma County. This is, perhaps obviously, due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean and the cooling fog that creeps into the coastal valleys via the Petaluma Gap during the summer. As a result of the cool climate, the distribution of grape varieties differs noticeably from that found in the drier, warmer climes inland. The Burgundy family are out in force here – Pinot Noir and Chardonnay together account for more than 75 percent of the AVA’s wines.


The original Estate vineyard of Senses, Hillcrest sits atop a hill rooted in shallow, rocky soil that receives excellent sunlight and is immersed by fog nearly every evening. A mere 10 miles from the ocean, the grapes from this site tend to have moderate acidity, approachable fruitiness and excellent aromatics. Here, you will find the famed “Goldridge” soils of Green Valley AVA, composed of fine, fluffy sandy loam with excellent drainage, There is a layer of silt as well as clay underneath that has some water retention to allow deeper rooted vines access to water during the inevitable California droughts. 2 acres of Pinot Noir were first planted in 2005. This vineyard has been selling fruit to Sonoma giants like Littorai, Flowers and Gary Farrell for years under its “Day One” bottlings.


Pinot Noir—chiefly associated with the Burgundy region of France— is grown around the world, mostly in cooler climates. The grape’s tendency to produce tightly-packed clusters makes it susceptible to several viticultural hazards involving rot that require diligent canopy management. When young, wines made from Pinot Noir tend to have red fruit aromas of cherries, raspberries and strawberries. As the wine ages, Pinot has the potential to develop more vegetal and earthy aromas that can contribute to the complexity of the wine. Thin skins and low levels of phenolic compounds lend Pinot to producing mostly lightly-coloured, medium-bodied and low-tannin wines that can often go through phases of uneven and unpredictable aging.


The 2021 vintage showcased the advantages of growing grapes on the coast in a drought year. Where some parts of the state were abnormally warm, the coast remained moderate and stable without severe heat days, allowing for winemaking-through-farming. Tonnage was carefully managed and the fruit was left to hang, developing full phenolic ripeness while still preserving the acidic quality that is so characteristic of the coast. Hand-harvested and hand-sorted in the cool of the evening and early morning. Gently pressed and cold-soaked, with daily punchdowns, before being fermented 100% in French oak (30% new), using indigenous yeasts. Aged in the barrels for 10 months before bottling.

Tasting Notes 

“The Senses 2021 Day One Pinot Noir has a medium ruby-purple color. It waltzes out with flamboyant notes of raspberry pie, Bing cherries, and red roses, followed by wafts of lavender, cardamom, and forest floor. The medium-bodied palate bursts with vibrant red berry, floral, and savory layers, framed by exquisitely ripe, fine-grained tannins and amazing tension, finishing with epic length and energy. So elegant and perfumed, this one could fool you into thinking it is a great Chambolle-Musigny.” – Lisa Perrotti-Brown