Ridgecrest Vineyard served as a source of pride for founding winemaker Harry Peterson-Nedry as in 1982 it became the first commercial planting in would become the Ribbon Ridge American Viticultural Area. A decade later, investments by former business partner Bill Stoller led to the 1992 plantings of Pommard and Wädensvil clones that Katie Santora crafted for Chehalem, where she’s worked since 2012. This bottling represents the second vintage as the head winemaker for the University of California-Davis grad. On the first whiff, there’s a sense of Old World earthiness and leather. However, the abundance dark blue fruit and perfumy oak from the 10 months in a program of 35% new French barrels combines for a remarkable series of markers that nearly any Pinot Noir consumer will appreciate among the black cherry, blueberry, clove and dried pineapple. It’s indeed silky on the entry and juicy throughout as nicely managed blueberry skin tannin are capped by a nibble of Montmorency cherry and pinch of nutmeg — a lasting note from the total of 18 months in barrel. Suggested pairings include roasted chicken and lightly seasoned vegetables.
Rating: 91 points — Outstanding!
Production: 440 cases