2013 McDougall Vineyard Pinot Noir
When Mac McDougall purchased his stunning ranch spanning the Gualala River in the early 1960s he had no idea he’d ever be planting grapes on it, but in 1998 old friend Warren Dutton convinced him to do just that. On 9 wind-protected southeast facing acres he planted 2 Dijon clones of pinot. With Mac’s sad passing this year, his wife Barbara and son Rich now work and stress over it. The site wraps over the ridge at about 1,100 feet and has a spectacular view of the Gualala River, the Pacific Ocean, and Mac’s neighbors at Hirsch and Martinelli vineyards. The fruit has the exceptionally thick skin, deep color and natural spice that is so characteristic of Pinot from the high slopes of the “true” Sonoma Coast. Even in this coastal region, McDougall ripens fairly early, due to its thin, well-drained soil, sheltered south slope and low yields. This same environment also imparts the minerality and solid structure for aging that this area is known for. This vineyard wonderfully represents the wild beauty and intensity of the Sonoma Coast, both in its land and its fruit.
The 2013 vintage was a wonderful one for McDougall, giving us an amped up version of everything we love in this expression of the rugged Sonoma Coast. The nose jumps out of the glass with its signature black cherry and rocky gravel notes. The longer it sits in the glass, the more the sweet cherry fruit comes up, along with a touch of thyme in the background. The mouth is solid and structured as we’ve come to expect from this wine, with firm tannins framing the black cherry and cola flavors. There’s a deep, dark layer of black licorice and sandalwood peeking from behind the fruit notes to keep it interesting. The wine becomes more round and rich with each sip, and finishes long and mouth-coating. As always, this is great wine for stashing away for the future—the 2002 and 2004 are excellent now, moving into their second decade of life. We love enjoying this wine with grilled steaks with an herb rub, each matching the boldness of the other. 415 cases produced.
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