Birichino Pinot Noir "Rodnick Farm Vineyard" 2021, Chalone AVA
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The Santa Lucias, on the western edge of the Salinas Valley are well known for pumping out the essence of fruit-forward, unctuous, juicy – and let’s just admit it, a tad callipygian – Pinot Noir, highly prized by America’s Pinot Noir fanboys/girls whose jelly is a little extra jam. But up in the Gabilan Range, above the eastern side of the valley, in the diminutive Chalone appellation just to the southwest of the granitic spires of the Pinnacles National Park, an entirely different, even more compelling stripe of Pinot Noir emerges. The weathered granitic debris from those volcanic formations commingled with veins of calcareous rock, the compressed remains of marine organisms from seabed uplifted by ancient tectonic activity, yields wines which, as at Enz on the other side of the Gabilan Range, resist easy varietal identification. We have observed that the Pinot Noirs from Rodnick Farm somehow recall the Nebbiolo-based wines of Alto Piemonte, with their roasted, meaty tones overlying tart cherry fruit, and a silken texture earned only with time, and exceptional terroir. Come to Chal- one if lava bombs, rather than fruit bombs, are your jam. The 2021combines younger blocks of Pommard and 114, with older blocks of the Swan and Chalone 46 clones planted by the late Dick Graff in 1986. Kurt Gollnick and Janet Rogers purchased the property from Bob Antle, and have continued to farm it -and Dick Graff’s old kitchen garden -organically, with all necessary attendant heritage breeds of sheep and herding dogs adding local color, compost, and legit regen- erative farming bragging rights. Native ferment, bottled unfiltered.