As wine drinkers our connections to wine come in many forms. Sometimes we connect with the scenic beauty of a wine region, a winery location or simply the label on a bottle of wine. Other times our connection is more personal; it can be the winemaker, the person pouring that wine for you in a tasting room or the friend who introduces you to that wine. Memories create a lasting connection. Our connection to Windrun Vintners & Négociants is more on the personal side, yet it was completely serendipitous.
Our first taste of Windrun Pinot Noir came near the end of 2015. That opportunity arose after my chance meeting with a Windrun partner and his wife in San Francisco. We shared a table in Union Square, talked wine and then received a selection of Windrun Pinot Noir as tasting samples. We had a quick second taste during the Live Blogging event at the 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference in Lodi when luck put us at a table where Windrun poured their 2013 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir. That wine was just as delicious as it had been 9 months earlier. The Pinot Noir in this cellar note, which we also received as tasting samples, gives us a taste of newer vintages.
2014 Windrun Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir — translucent ruby in the glass with delicate aromas of dusty earth and berry bramble. Red cherry and blackberry flavors combine with berry bramble in the background. Tannins are smooth and well integrated with the flavors which linger for a medium-length finish in this medium-bodied Pinot. 14.5% abv. 733 cases produced. Screw cap closure. $33
Give this wine some time in the glass to fully express itself. When I came back to this wine on day 2, I found the aromas and flavors had gained complexity. It is a delicious wine with excellent Pinot Noir character and will pair nicely with pizza, pork chops or roast chicken.
Production notes indicate the Pinot Noir is sourced from one of the oldest plantings along the Santa Ynez River and consists of 100% Clone 2A Pinot Noir. This is Pinot Noir just as I like it — 100% Pinot Noir.
2015 Windrun Vintage Selection No. 12 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir — translucent ruby in the glass, but with depth of color. Complex and generous aromatics are a combination of dusty earth, berry bramble and ripe blackberries. Red raspberry flavors are joined by blackberries, dusty earth and mushrooms with a hint of cedar in the background. Juicy acidity keeps the flavors lively. The tannins are smooth, body is medium and the finish is medium + in length. 14.3% abv. 359 cases produced. Natural cork closure. $33
This Pinot Noir is approachable and relatively complex. The aromas will draw you in and the flavors will keep you sipping. The combination of fruit and earthy flavors is very pleasing. Once again, this Pinot Noir will love food.
A north-facing vineyard that rises above the Santa Ynez River is the source of this 100% Pinot Noir. The blend of Pinot Noir Clones 667 and 115 is aged for 20 months in 22% new French oak.
The Sta. Rita Hills AVA is located in a coastal valley in Santa Barbara County. The Santa Rita Valley has the distinction of an east-west orientation, rather than the more usual north-south orientation along the Pacific Coast. This east-west orientation funnels fog and wind inland from the Pacific Ocean moderating temperatures inland. That, along with poor quality, marine soils high in calcium make the region a prime growing location for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and other cool-climate varieties.
According to the Wikipedia definition of wind run it “is a meteorological term used to categorize or determine the total distance (or amount) of the traveled wind over a period of time.” Windrun Vintners & Négociants takes it name from this definition as it applies to the cooling winds that pass through a vineyard that are important for proper balance in grape varieties like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Over several vintages Windrun Pinot Noir has proven to be a good value and a delicious representation of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA.