Rivers Marie, Summa Vineyard Pinot Noir Old Vine 2014
Thomas Brown, proprietor-winemaker of Rivers-Marie, now owns the Summa Vineyard from which Burt Williams produced a number of brilliant Williams Selyem bottlings, and he is doing a fine job upholding Burt’s legacy, so this 2014 (a great California Pinot vintage, incidentally) made a nice book-end to the 1988 enjoyed with Burt. This is a wine which really rewards some years in the cellar, but its youthful bouquet of blood orange, rhubarb, strawberry, Christmas spice and wild plum is already classic Summa. Lovely amplitude and sap on the palate, underpinned by fine tannins, juicy acidity and what I’m tempted to describe as saline minerality (as distinct from the crunchy tension one finds in young Côte de Nuits red Burgundies). A wine unusual for its singular and consistent expression of site, and invariably one of my favourite north American Pinot Noirs. The regular bottling is lovely too and shares the same aromatic signature, but the old vines bring even greater depth and incipient complexity.
Taster: William Kelley