Ojai Pinot Noir Puerta del Mar 2016, Santa Barbara County, California

“Puerta Del Mar is a level six-acre vineyard that presents a heady intersection of benevolent climate and soils. The vineyard is adjacent to the Santa Ynez River’s last bends before the ocean (even further west than the Sta. Rita Hills) and that influx of Pacific air up the riverbed makes for mild days here when it is warm just a short drive inland. The site rests on the confluence of that river and Salsipuedes Creek, which drains the hillsides south of Sta. Rita Hills. These deep, gravelly Mocho loam soils are strewn with calcareous (chalky) rock, making the soil chemically similar (if not structurally) to the carbonate-rich soils of Burgundy. And like much of Burgundy, this wine is subtle, enticing, and shows a powerful translucent redness in the glass. This 2016 Pinot Noir shows restrained fruit aromas at first: peat and stone, palo santo wood, light sage-y notes and dried orange. After some time you’ll see dark raspberry emerge. On the palate there’s a supple just-enoughness with just ripe strawberry and red fleshed cherry, and the salinity of this coastal site plays up that pliant and silky texture. It closes out gently with those light strawberry notes, light baking spice and gentle chalky tannin.