The Shop is the Carneros Pinot Noir that I was trying to make when I started my winemaking career thirty years ago. Not because it is the perfect wine, but because it strikes me as a very pure and unadulterated expression of the flavor of Carneros. That was the goal all along, and the pursuit of it took me on a circuitous path to where I am today. Ironically, the harvest metrics I use today (sugar, acid, and so on) are strikingly similar to those I used 30 years ago. But the grapes have changed. Farming is better. Clones and rootstocks are more thoughtfully chosen. And the climate is different. The net result is that the grapes are better now than they were before.
The 2015 Shop, like the 2014, is pretty ripe and open. But it is a very different wine. In 2014, the wines were juicy and almost angular in their youth; the 2015s are pretty, sweet and alluring and have been from the beginning. And although 2015 was an early, warm vintage, the wines are fresh and fairly modest in alcohol. The Shop is always one of the biggest and fleshiest of my offerings and the 2015 is no different; a bit of tannin on the finish gives it a pleasing lift and persistence. The combination of spice and fruit signals that the wine is from Carneros.
2015 was a challenging year to be a grapevine. It was the fifth year in a row of drought, and many vines were showing the stress of such a long time with not enough water. The crop was small too, especially on the Sonoma Coast but to a less extreme extent in Carneros too. While some feel that the 2015 Pinot Noirs are almost too concentrated, at The Shop, I would say that flavor was concentrated but extract was not. The 2015 is prettier and fruitier, and perhaps more forward, than the 2014 was at the same age. Possibly slightly less tannic. Time will tell how it will age, but it certainly tastes good now!