January 21, 2020
by Bruce Neyers
Over the past few months more than we had expected has been written about our 2017 Pinot Noir ‘Placida Vineyard’, a bottling made from grapes grown by Chuy Ordaz and his family on the slope of the Russian River’s southern bank. Chuy is a master at the peak of his craft, and few growers have his combination of technical knowledge and practical experience. Recent reviews have called the wine ‘Well-knit, filled with minerally richness’; ‘a wine of charm and elegance that walks a delicious tightrope between red fruit and earthy flavors’. Numerous other positive mentions have been made, and each bottle I’ve tried has been memorable. My favorite comment, though, rings not with hyperbole but with pure emotion, and comes from one of my heroes in this business — Master Sommelier Chuck Furuya. Chuck works from his base in Honolulu where in 1989 he became one of the first Americans to be recognized as a master sommelier. He’s now a partner in a group of vibrant, successful restaurants. I don’t know anyone who knows more about wine than he does, or has tasted as many wines. Chuck invited Neyers Vineyards to be involved in a recent industry seminar, Wine Speak, and asked to show two of our wines to the scores of wine lovers who will be traveling to Paso Robles from around the world to attend. When communicating his selections to us, Chuck remarked:
“I was thinking, let’s show the 2017 Pinot Noir ‘Placida Vineyard’. It’s soooooo inspiring right now!”
We’re wildly enthusiastic about this Pinot Noir we make from Chuy’s Placida Vineyard. The climate there is chilly, giving the fruit a longer than normal ripening period or ‘hang time’. The soil is Goldridge Clay, well-drained sandy loam that’s low in nutrients, so the vigor of the vines is kept in check while an attractive element of minerality is introduced. Most importantly though, the plant material is from a non-clonal ‘Heirloom’ source that was imported directly from Burgundy, then planted 60 years ago in the Joseph Swan Vineyard in Forestville. The yields are low, the colors are bright and fresh, and the wine is just brimming with flavor. Here’s a bottling of Pinot Noir that’s inspiring.