2021 was an excellent growing season at McIntyre vineyard, the source of our Pinot Noir. Statewide, the 2021 growing season was fairly typical, and while it was a bit warmer than normal there were no severe heat waves. Yields in the Santa Lucia Highlands were average to slightly below, and flavor concentration was good. Unlike in 2020, there were no fires or heat waves at harvest time so things felt relatively civilized! 120 cases made.
Our Pinot Noir is named “Chong Feng” 重逢, to reunite. Reuniting with old friends and family is one of life’s joyous moments that we treasure dearly. We crafted this wine to celebrate the unity that bonded all of us together.
The 2021 Shunyi Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir is about 75% from the heritage Swan selection, a low-yielding but extremely flavorful and aromatic Pinot Noir selection. It gives a wine with great purity of fruit. Red fruits and fresh berries define the aromatics while on the palate bright acidity and fine-grained tannins balance the ripe fruit beautifully. I think it is our best Pinot Noir yet!
The harvest at McIntyre vineyard began on the same day in both years, the character of the fruit was quite different—the 2020 wines were concentrated, ripe, and plush, while the 2021 wines are brighter, a bit lower in alcohol, and more classically proportioned. 180 cases made.
We named our Chardonnay “Xiang Si” 相思, which means to think about the ones you care for and love. We wanted to dedicate this wine to our families and friends who have been guiding and supporting us along this challenging yet exciting journey.
The 2021 Chardonnay shares notes of beeswax and honey with the 2020, but it is a little more restrained. The alcohol is slightly lower than in the 2020 vintage, which is to be expected in a cooler harvest. The wine presents a bright and fresh profile. There’s a hint of oak in the aromatics and a pleasant chalky minerality on the mid-palate.
In 2020, we located a small Cabernet Sauvignon parcel just east of St Helena, at the foot of the mountains. Planted on a slope of stones with a bit of soil between the rocks, the vines were small and spindly and produced only a few clusters each. 2020 was a challenging vintage with heat and drought and this little site, just over an acre, struggled to produce about a ton and a half of grapes. Only 70 cases made.
We named this wine “攀登” (Pan Deng), which means climbing. Winemaking is a physically demanding job that is not as glamorous as many might think. Like mountain climbers, perseverance and resilience are the core characters of a winemaker. We want to dedicate this wine to all the hard-working men and women out there who are fearlessly pursuing their goals and dreams every day.
The tiny yields and small berries led us to believe this would be a tannic monster, but it is anything but. It seems strange these days to refer to a Napa Valley Cabernet as “pretty,” but this wine surely fits that description. Aromas of red cherries, blackberry infusion, and hints of cedar and cigar give a delightful first impression. On the palate, it is energetic and fresh, with well-balanced acidity that steers the wine in the direction of charm and elegance and away from power. A light dusting of tannin on the finish suggests that laying this wine down for a couple of years would be worthwhile.