There's been a lot of noise about the Pinot Noirs of Anderson Valley, particularly in the fabulous, drawn-out 2007 vintage. Lots of 90+ point scores, new brands climbing over $40 a bottle. But, we're sorry. After a day of tasting the starstruck region's 2007s, we began wondering about all the impact of all this grade inflation. That was before we came to Drew's brilliant 2007 "Fog-Eater", a brilliant red fruit beauty made from early maturing Dijon Clone fruit from Valenti and Bailo vineyards.
How to describe this sensational effort from a young winemaker who learned his craft from the likes of John Kongsgaard, Bryan Babcock and Cathy Corison? In this glorious 2007 vintage, "Fog-Eater" is the logical mix of the sweetness of Russian River Pinot with the structure and brooding complexity of an excellent vintage in Oregon.
Why is Drew's wine this good, while others seem simply underripe and thin? It's cold in this northern California coastal appellation. The fog shows up at 3 a.m. and doesn't burn off until 10. The days can be warm, but the nights are cold. It's tough to get Pinot ripe here, but like many cool (borderline too cool) microclimates, there is little margin for error. But if you get everything right, the results can be staggering.
Drew took all this in and knew he needed to find spots where exposure was excellent, where growers would drop fruit to reduce yields (just two tons per acre on Valenti), and where all grapes were of the earlier ripening Dijon clone. Put all this together with Jason's uncanny artisanal instinct and the drawn-out 2007 growing season, and you have a recipe for a gorgeous, rich, opulent Pinot, with the fine, firm backbone of the coast.
"Good full red. Aromas of cherry skin, dried flowers and herbs. Juicy and penetrating, with a light touch to its tangy red fruit, spice and mineral flavors. A graceful Pinot with lovely subtle sweetness and excellent spicy length. And the alcohol here is a moderate 13.7%."
92 points--Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar