From Bruce Neyers - “The story of Pinot Noir in California over the past twenty years or so has been a fascinating saga to watch. I’m a Burgundy lover, and I’ve built much of my career buying, selling and drinking French Burgundy. Unlike Cabernet Sauvignon though, producing great Pinot Noir in California has been elusive. Seeing our industry reach the heights it enjoys today has been an extraordinary opportunity. At Neyers Vineyards we’ve had our moment in the sun, as we’ve benefited from the enormous progress made by a handful of pioneers like Joe Swan, Chuy Ordaz and the Sangiacomo Family. It was Joe Swan who pointed out that we were working with the wrong type of Pinot Noir grape vines in California, then took it even further by importing cuttings directly from a handful of the top vineyards in Burgundy. He developed the cuttings into mature vines, and the fruit from those vines was responsible for Joe’s early successes. Both Chuy Ordaz and Mike Sangiacomo knew Joe’s story, so they in turn took cuttings from Joe’s vines to develop their own vineyards. Meanwhile, several talented winemakers in northern California began honing the traditional wine-making practices of Burgundy’s most talented vignerons. Now, after forty or fifty years, we have suddenly entered the Golden Age of Burgundianstyle Pinot Noir in California.
Many people deserve a share of the recognition, too many to mention here, but our winemaker Tadeo Borchardt is certainly one of them. His numerous trips to France, detailed talks with winemakers, and painstaking attention to wine-making detail have all paid off. Our latest example of this is the 2016 Pinot Noir “Placida Vineyard”. It comes from a small parcel of vines Chuy Ordaz planted in the Gold Ridge Clay of his Russian River Valley ranch, using cuttings from this original Joe Swan parcel. We hand harvest the fruit, then sort the berries while removing only 50% of the stems. We ferment in open top tanks using native wild yeast. We punch down the cap manually several times daily. The wine is subsequently aged for one year in 60-gallon French oak barrels, before we bottle it unfined and unfiltered.
The color is dark ruby— but not too dark as great Burgundy is transparent—and the aroma combines exotic jams and spices with earth and mineral. The texture is as satisfying as the flavor, and the finish shows you a winemaker at the top of his game.”