2016 Les Griottes Pinot Noir
2016 Les Griottes, The Richebourg of the West
Where it All Began
Our fascination with the great red Burgundies comes from the singular aromatics and complexities that are born in unique vineyards but a few kilometers apart. It is why we undertook the challenge and risk to focus on each specific clone of Pinot Noir that is best in harmony with each vineyard site – our Single Vineyard, Single Clone, and Single Cooperage wines – MonoClone®.
We talk about the legendary Burgundies because they are the benchmarks and what inspires and drives our madness. Our dream was simply to be in the conversation one day. As we introduce our 2016 vintage to you, our years of effort are clearly showing up in the glass where it counts. Claude says, “It’s our most Burgundian of vintages,” to which Don noted, “Wait, didn’t you say that already?” His typically Gallic response, “No Don – Pay Attention! I talked about how the 2014’s evolved over an hour like a great Burgundy. This vintage has it all – concentration, aromatics, earthiness, and acid – this what we’ve been waiting for.”
Les Griottes comes from a magnificent secluded vineyard near Occidental. The hillside vineyard has a northeastern exposure, a very steep slope, and is in the middle of a spectacular redwood forest. Just 6 miles from the Pacific Ocean on the western coastal range, is perhaps the most visually stunning vineyard which we are entrusted – the depth of aromatics and spice in Forêt is a pure reflection of this truly unique vineyard’s site, slope, climate, and clone.
The wines from 2016 exemplify the Soliste style and its paradox: Elegant yet intense; focused and complex, powerful, and refined. These pinots are each born from the same family but raised as distinct cousins of their own character and personality. Vive la Différence!
Wait, where are the 2015’s?
You may have noticed that we have skipped the 2015 MonoClone Pinot Noir release. Why? This is what Soliste is all about. In early August, we sat together at the table eager to taste the 2015’s for our fall release. They were simply not ready. Tannic, astringent, grippy, that suffocated the quality of the fruit. The wine structures were there but like a rebellious child, did not have time to show all of its promises, and time is what it takes; time to send him back to his room (cellar) to calm down. Sure, we could as many do, follow a schedule, release the wines for cash flow and ask you, the customer, to cellar them for a year or more – but that will never be Soliste. Our promise to you is to only release wines that we are proud to share with you at the dinner table. So we waited. We tried again in December and in July; the wines had definitely improved but still needed a long decant to see the evolution. Time is all that they will need, rushing is not an option. Since we were in a tasting mood, we pulled out some 2016’s just to check on them, and oh my – Incroyable! Burgundy West!! And here we are, that is the great mystery of wine and all of its surprises. Wine does not work on a spreadsheet-driven four times a year release schedule. It’s nature and alchemy in a bottle, unpredictable, surprising, magnificent, and yes nerve-racking. In the same way, harvests are dictated when the grapes are calling to be picked, Soliste only releases wines to you when, and only when, they are ready to be savored at their best. It’s simple. It’s one of the few decisions that the Masters of Complication have an easy time with.
NOTE: Les Griottes is our restaurant-only wine created from the same vineyard and clone as our most sought after MonoClone, L'Ambroisie. Enjoy!
2016 LES GRIOTTES MonoClone Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
If L’Espérance is the most feminine, ethereal Pinot Noir that we produce, Les Griottes is the most masculine and enigmatic. Born from a legendary clone of great pedigree and situated on an amazing site in the middle of giant redwood trees. The wine density and concentration as well as its origins have created many debates and conversations around the tables of our friends. The 2016 Les Griottes possesses all of the great qualities and is reminiscent of the great wines around Vosnes-Romanée.
Le Regard / The Look
Brilliant and dense robe of deep crimson and garnet. The swirls in the glass possess great weight and texture, defined long legs, denoting super micro tannins from the whole cluster press.
Le Nez / The Nose
This is the most intoxicating and focused nose Les Griottes has ever produced. Pure and intense aromas of dark cherry compote, raspberries, Kirsch, and dusty rose petals layered with exotic spices and vanilla. As the wine opens up, deep scents of caramelized cherries, blueberries, and wild dark plums laced with sandalwood, violet, and earthy sous-bois, bloom effortlessly out of the glass. The highly perfumed nose is very reminiscent of the great Richebourgs, flawless.
Degustation / The Taste
The front palate delivers a high pitch mouthful of chewy sun ripe raspberries, Tart red cherries, blueberries, layered with cocoa nibs and black tea must spiked with micro tannins and sappy herbal tones from the whole cluster press. The harmonious yet grippy texture produces a powerful sustaining power on the palate. The mid-palate is lively and textural; the fruit concentration is razor-focused into a caramelized and exotic compote of blue and red berries, ultra-refined flavors of sous-bois, violets, Kirsch, and earthy truffles. Precise and complex in purity; Les Griottes' robust power and weight in the mid-palate flows seamlessly into a bright, elevated finish accented by tart pomegranate, cranberry, cedar, dry maple leaves, and cardamom.
Les Griottes 2016 possesses the highest level of power, complexity, finesse, elegance, and harmony, a rare feat…Soliste…Richebourg.
This wine will age for decades and we definitely suggest decanting 20 minutes prior to letting the magic into the glass.