THE FINAL ALLOCATION OF 2023: If You Choose To Go | Throw Yourself Into Your Wave
Two people would die sleeping on the beach where we had camped just six weeks prior. It was a cold, isolated, rocky cove at the edge of a dark wood at the tip of the North Pacific Coast, where waves of epic proportions broke in successive, eighteen second intervals. These were large, heavy, black-water beasts isolated from human interference. Not one soul in the water for miles in view. Glorious set, upon glorious set, inviting us to test our mettle. This is a dangerous territory for light-framed humans in black wetsuits: seal-pup-sized and the perfect outline of a light snack for an eighteen-foot Great White.
With the smell of sweet Cypress peat and driftwood smoke sousing the air, a heavy emotion took hold, and we shared our thoughts on stepping into the void, “It’s a gorgeous rendering from god’s mind when you think about it,” quipped a young man wanting to sound grounded and present, as fear dripped down the inner leg of his wetsuit. This was his first time surfing here. “Like I said, this is heavy water, mate. Never turn your back to the ocean. Ever. Choose to live here for a while and paddle out alone, then you will come to know what I know. God won’t save you here. So, buckle up.” As only a friend of many years could reply.
Something primal happens to the soul who settles here. You see, to pack in your gear, food for three nights, a guitar, and a 12-gauge shotgun for protection builds character. You are free in spirit yet gripped by the prospect of the unknown. You fall, break a leash, wash out in a rip, and you are suddenly lost at sea. No matter how loud you scream. No matter how much you plead by a miracle you be saved. No one will come. This is a waypoint in a surfer’s life. You place your existence in the hands of fate and release the fear of consequence.
This is one canvas from which we paint our lives in the wine industry. Informative experiences that drive our instinct to push boundaries. We are nothing if not adventurous in spirit, wild at heart, and full of soul. We believe everyone has a waypoint in life – maybe more than one – where they can toggle and re-find inspiration to drive themselves further down the line in their vision quest for their lives. But…let’s be honest, far too many of us often give up. Maybe the day is too windy, too cold, and the surf…just too big. So, let us leave you with this one last story.
Four of us once hauled out on a mid-winter surf session so bloody cold and big we often refer to the session as “foot pads.” That is all that needs to be said. Foot pads. Blue lips, bone-white hands, ear lobes as fragile as ice chards, a broken surfboard, and feet so cold they felt like walking on twelve-inch ice blocks once you hit the rocky shore. One dude reveled in the high of the moment, shivering – “I was recalling the high points of our session,” – while the rest of us crawled out of our icy suits, dripping in hypothermia. Four shots of tequila, a case of beer, and a hot fire later, sure, we could laugh about it. It still brings chuckles around the table. What on earth were we thinking? Truth is, we were not thinking at all. We were just doing. Throwing ourselves into the wave of our life in that moment. Suffering. Laughing at the suffering. Savoring life.
Friends, you may be in for the ride of a lifetime or a wipeout from which you may struggle to recover. How will you ever know unless you choose to go? We are very grateful we chose to throw ourselves into this wave called Croix Estate. What a wild ride it has been so far! And, we are thrilled you are choosing to come along for the adventure.
The two wines featured in our final allocation of the year are appropriate for the moment. One launched our beginning into Pinot Noir and one that we are saying farewell to, as the last vintage produced is upon us. Both are very limited in production. So, get in here and throw yourselves over this awesome wave. You will not regret the ride.
2021 South Block Six Pinot Noir | Platt Estate Vineyard, Sonoma Coast
Variety: 100% Pinot Noir, Clone 667 | Method | 100% Pellenc Destemmed, 5 Day Cold Soak, 100% Carbonic Native Inoculation Open Top Fermentation, Hand Punch Down Cap Submersion, Free-Run Transfer Via Gravity Flow| Aging Regimen, 40% New French Oak, 16 Months | Clarifying Via Barrel To Tank | 5 Barrels Produced
This will be the final vintage produced. 6 vintages into our run with this epic vineyard, the French Insurance money people have gobbled up yet another privately owned, elite vineyard on the Sonoma Coast. Epic sums of cash were laid out for this vineyard and no vineyard contracts were awarded beyond vintage 2021. Appropriate to the gist of our opening letter, we pushed into the Platt Vineyard wave early with the 2016 vintage and never looked back. Some of the most expensive fruit in Sonoma County as it relates to Pinot Noir by the acre, this elite, gem of a vineyard will be missed. Needless to say, the 2021 vintage follows true to form as with all previous vintages, knocking it out of the park and then some. If ever there were a “Grand Cru” classification system within Sonoma County, this would sit squarely in place. We will attempt to spread the love to as many recipients as we can with this wine, however, first priority will be given to those allocation recipients who have purchased this wine in the past. Do not miss your allotment of this wine.
Located in the western-most hills of Sebastopol, near Freestone, sitting at elevations that range from 400 feet to 800 feet, and situated just 5 miles from the Pacific coastline, the vineyard is planted to a mélange of Pinot Noir clones. At 31 acres, our vineyard parcel is located in the southwestern facing Block 6. While ridiculously close to the coastline, this vineyard is deceivingly warm. Taking the drive from the cold (62 degrees) fog soaked Bodega Highway, one courses the vineyard’s twisting road up the ridgeline and into the summer sun, where daytime temperatures range from the low 70’s to the mid 80’s. This is a spectacular juxtaposition of climate at elevation and serves as the foundation for producing some of Sonoma County’s finest, and most expensive Pinot Noir, with an average per ton cost of $11,000-$15,000 in most vintages. And, we think you will discover, it is so worth it!
Opulent, red and blue fruit come together on this wine on the nose. Goodness, this is going to be delicious. Cranberry, blueberry , crushed cinnamon, and plum draw you into the glass. A dark, purple hew hints at pedigree in the glass. Red fruits, black plums, and blueberry are framed with supple tannins, minerality, leather, sweet tobacco, and allspice leading to a balanced viscosity and weight on the palate. There is substantial glide in the finish that is long and delicious. Please sir! May I have another?
$125 | 5 Barrels Produced
2021 Ol' Manzana Pinot Noir | Dutton-Manzana Vineyard, Green Valley of the Russian River Valley
Variety: 100% Pinot Noir, Clone 777 and 828 | Method | 90% Pellenc Destemmed, 10% Wholecluster, 6 Day Cold Soak, 100% Carbonic Native Inoculation Open Top Fermentation, Hand Punch Down Cap Submersion, Free-Run Transfer Via Gravity Flow| Aging Regimen, 50% New French Oak, 16 Months | Clarifying Via Barrel To Tank | 6 Barrels Produced
Just when you thought this vineyard could not get any better, along comes the 2021 vintage. Clones 777 and 828 are ideal for this location just outside of Graton, a stopover town on the way to Sebastopol. We started this program with the first vintage of 2012 at just 50 cases produced. If there is one thing that we have learned from farming and producing from this vineyard over the last ten years, it is that this Pinot Noir is built to last. There is nothing in the wine world quite like an aged Pinot Noir that packs in the flavor and zest to keep you coming back for more. What sets this wine apart is its location within the Green Valley sub-appellation within the broader Russian River Valley AVA. Warm days followed by chilly nights that sweep in from the Bodega Headlands up through the Russian River and sit square over the area. Add to it Goldridge dust—that special soil only this area produces—and a southeastern facing aspect, and boom! You have the ingredients to create deliciousness in the glass.
Located in the Green Valley sub-appellation of the Russian River Valley, just across Purrington Creek outside of the town of Graton, the Manzana Vineyard is planted on a gently sloped hillside composed of Goldridge soils. The name “Manzana,” Spanish for apple, honors the area’s long heritage of apple orchards. Manzana’s hillside vineyard is eastern facing, which is optimal for ripening Pinot Noir in cooler growing regions. Planted to clone Dijon 828 and Dijon 115 in 2001, this vineyard sits on a sloped foundation of Goldridge soil with ideal drainage into Purrington Creek. The vineyard is a certified Sonoma County Sustainably-Farmed and Fish-Friendly vineyard. The site produces moderately sized vines with small clusters. Cool growing conditions due to the morning fog allow the Pinot Noir to ripen slowly, developing tannic acids overtime that lead to pure balance in the fruit base. Of all of the Pinot Noirs we produce, Manzana has proven to be the Pinot Noir that will stand the test of time. Our first vintage produced from the vineyard was 2012 and has been nothing but impressive ever since. To this day, the 2012 vintage continues to be fresh, full, and alive with very little oxidation in color or body, a testament to the pedigree of the site.
Highly perfumed black cherry, cherry cola, cranberry and big red apple drive the aromatics, while the soft, floral nuances really get you interested in what comes next. Opening with strawberry compote, floral (Hibiscus), allspice, graphite, with subtle hints of dried cocoa and juniper. My goodness, this is gorgeous! Tons of red fruit, silky currants with sexy, integrated tannins. Viscosity is balanced by consistent acidity that runs through the whole palate. An ultra-long finish that coats the mouth finishing with spice and ripe, red fruit. A well-balanced approach with a very full finish. Delicious!
$95 | 6 Barrels Produced