Hillcrest Day One Pinot Noir 2019
Senses Wines
Region: Sonoma

95-Wine Enthusiast; 95-Jeb Dunnuck
Tasting Notes

Floral elements mingle with black cherry, baking spice and red currant for an intoxicating aroma. The medium-bodied palate is highlighted by red berries and cherries, but there are earthy notes and hints of black tea as well. There is a richness to this, but it is offset by the generous acidity. The tannins are supple, but would definitely reward mid-term cellaring. Chill this down lightly and enjoy with planked salmon, seared duck breast or with a picnic lunch.

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 Russian River Valley AVA, which lies in the geographical heart of Sonoma, is home to over 15000 vineyard acres and 70 wineries. Fifteen miles long, it winds its way through Mendocino County AVA, Alexander Valley AVA and Healdsburg, before heading out to the Pacific. Warmer than Sonoma Coast AVA, but cooler than areas further inland such as the Alexander Valley AVA, the area’s dense morning and evening fog banks have become synonymous with the region, helping cool the grapes from the warm days. It is this diurnal change that allows for the production of world-class cooler-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as well as fantastic warmer-climate Zinfandel, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. There are varied soils within this appellation, but most share large amounts of gravel and some measure of clay.

The original Estate Vineyard of Senses, Hillcrest soils are the famed “Goldridge Loam” of Green Valley and are composed of fine, fluffy sandy loam, with excellent draininage, 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. This vineyard has been selling fruit to Sonoma giants like Littorai, Flowers and Gary Farrell for years under its “Day One” bottlings.

Hand-harvested and hand-sorted in the cool of evening, or early morning. Gently pressed and cold-soaked, with daily punchdowns, before being fermented in French oak (25% new), using indigenous yeasts. Aged in the barrels for 10 months before bottling.

Wine Type: Red

Variety: Pinot Noir

Classification: AVA

Orientation: South and east

Appellation: Sonoma County

Gradient: N/A

Soil: Goldridge sandy loam

Farming Practices: Sustainable

Residual Sugar: N/A

Alcohol: 14.1

Malolactic: Yes

Botte Size: 750 ml

Acidity: N/A

Other Practices: Sustainable