Oppenlander Vineyard is well off the beaten path in Mendocino County outside of the town of Comptche. It’s about eight and a half miles from the Pacific Ocean as the crow flies at an elevation of 250 feet. Oppenlander is owned by the Shandel family, 5th generation owners of the property, and was originally homesteaded in the 1860s by their ancestors from Denmark (via the Gold Rush in Australia). The vineyard sees consistently cool temperatures across the growing season and is harvested later than other regions. This cooler temperature range and coastal proximity can deliver a certain “oceanic acidity,” lending structure and complexity to the wine.

2012 was a very moderate growing year and relatively cool out near the coast. The most striking observation about the 2012 Oppenlander Pinot Noir is its color – a vibrant violet-red color that has been visible from crush all the way through to the bottle. On the nose, a hint of warm spice mixes with red berry high tones for subtle aromatics. On the palate, a combination of sweet and sour cherry and creamy raspberry are wrapped in a taut package that shows a lot of balance. This balance and acidity will reward cellaring, although it is enjoyable out of the bottle right now.

Clones: Dijon 114, 115; Pommard
Harvest/Brix: October 3, 2012 at 24.7 Brix
Fruit: 100% whole berry (no stems)
Fermentation: Native yeast
Barrel aging: 16 months in 1-, 2-year old & neutral French oak
Alcohol content: 14.2% by volume
Bottled: February, 2014
Production: 95 cases
Release date: October, 2014

Suggested Retail Price: $44/bottle (750ml)
Drink now through 2020