Monday, June 11, 2018
Husch Vineyards/Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival/Zac Robinson
I recently visited Husch Vineyards and really enjoyed talking with Zac Robinson for the first time.I also was able to enjoy an extra night during the Anderson valley Pinot Noir festival.Zac and I opened a number of wines from Husch Vineyards,and today we are featuring 2 of Anderson Valley's best Pinot Noirs! We will take a look at a bit of the history of the winery and then checkout the tasting notes on these very special wines. Founded in 1971, Husch is the oldest winery in the picturesque Anderson Valley. The vineyards are comprised of some of the earliest varietal plantings on the valley floor. In 1967 Tony and Gretchen Husch bought the 60-acre Nunn ranch between Philo and Navarro on Highway 128. The land was well known for growing apples and grains. They soon planted eight acres of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Gewurztraminer grapes on the cool slopes of the property. The plantings sweep down towards the pristine Navarro River. The first official crush was in the fall of 1971. In 1979, Hugo Oswald Jr. bought the 6,000 case Husch Winery from the Husch family. The Oswald family had been growing pears in the Santa Clara Valley, but when the area was expanding they sold the land and headed for the southern tip of Mendocino County. Today Husch Vineyards remains owned and operated by the 3rd Generation of the Oswald family: Zac Robinson and Amanda Robinson Holstine. Winemaking is under the direction of Brad Holstine (Amanda's husband). Al White, in charge of all viticulture operations, has been with Husch since 1974. Through the years Husch has modernized and expanded, but it has never lost its initial rustic charm or reputation for great wines. We first will open the 2014 'Knoll' Pinot Noir. Husch Vineyards planted the first Pinot Noir vines in the Anderson Valley back in 1971 on a special piece of land that we call “The Knoll.” These old vines thrive in an outcropping of sandstone and shale, possessing good drainage. Overlooking the Navarro River, the vines in the Knoll benefit from the cool night air and frequent morning fog. With this combination of great soils and great weather the Knoll consistently produces the highest quality Pinot Noir. Winemaking In 2014 we endured our last year of drought resulting in a modest crop of small berries and reduced yield. We picked the grapes by hand and sorted out any defective clusters. Then we put the fruit into small, open-top fermentation bins, with about 70% of the fruit crushed and the remaining 30% preserved in “whole cluster” form. Primary fermentation lasted 10 days, shortly thereafter the grapes were pressed to French oak barrels, 50% new, where the wine underwent malolactic fermentation and maturated for 10 months with minimal handling. Tasting notes To fully understand the complexity of Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, you must try our 2014 release from the Knoll vineyard. Captivating aromas of summer cherry, strawberry, blood orange, lilac, clove, and humidor make this wine a joy to smell. Flavors that mimic the aromas are supported by perfectly integrated tannins and balanced acidity. Delightful on its own, but designed for food, this wine will pair nicely with pan seared duck breast, smoked salmon, mushroom tortellini, and creamy cheeses. Approachable in its youth and graceful with age. We also have opened the 2015 'Reserve' Pinot Noir . A "reserve" wine must achieve the highest standards to warrant the extra care and attention that is necessary in the winery. At Husch we build our reserve wines from the best lots that a vintage has to offer. Once selected, each lot is given special handling and extended aging in our favorite French oak barrels. The result, as the 2015 vintage demonstrates, is well worth the extra effort and time. Winemaking In 2015 the warm winter and persistent drought conditions yielded a very early harvest with a light crop but extraordinary character in the tiny berries. The grapes selected for this wine were hand-picked and fermented in small open top fermenters. 10% of the fruit was dedicated to a "whole cluster fermentation" - where the berries are left intact for the fermentation process - to add complexity and nuance to the finished wine. Our reserve Pinot Noir is a cuvée from four of our best vineyard blocks and was aged in French oak for 10 months with minimal handling. Tasting Notes Our 2015 reserve showcases what makes Anderson Valley so special for growing Pinot Noir. Concentrated aromas of cherry, strawberry, a hint of violet, and undertone of forest floor marry well with spice notes of cedar, vanilla, and clove. A rich and silky body give the wine substance and grace on the palate. Lovely when paired with pork belly, cream of mushroom soup, roast chicken, or smoked salmon. We have poured you a glass of each of these beautiful wines and now invite you to join us as we enjoy our audio feature from Zac Robinson and Husch Vineyards!Click on the lick at the bottom and let's listen to this great feature from Anderson valley!Cheers! Click here and join us at Husch Vineyards .