The 2019 Pinot Noir is pale ruby-purple in color. The nose is tantalizingly savory, featuring notes of cracked black pepper, stewed tea, and dried Provence herbs over a core of Bing cherries, redcurrant jelly, and raspberry leaves, plus a hint of orange peel. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has a lot more power and fruit than the pretty, perfumed nose suggests, with fine-grained tannins and just enough freshness, finishing long and fragrant. This comes from the biodynamic Duvarita Vineyard, a marine-influenced site that is very windswept and low-yielding. The wine was made with 100% whole-cluster fermentation and aged for 18 months in 30% new oak.
99 Points · Walson Holland Pinot Noir Duvarita 2019
This ultra-polished, velvety smooth Pinot is guaranteed to dazzle fans of California’s rarest (think Sea Smoke or Kistler) as well as Burgundy from top vintages. Offering up alluring aromas of wild strawberry, mint tea and baking spices. This boutique gem expresses a sensational intensity of fruit flavors including raspberries, strawberries plus exotic spices and a creamy vanilla finish reminiscent of much pricier Pinots. This is a sumptuous and lively effort that will be a pleasure to savor now through 2029. Highly recommend.
Watch out for this new winery out of Ojai, whose winemaker Benjamin Holland isn't afraid of pushing envelopes. In this case, that's all whole-cluster fermentation, which gives this bottling a smoky, herbal sense of singed sage and bay leaf atop the dark fruits. The palate carries forth with juniper and roasted pasilla-chile elements atop the core fruit.