Anthill Farms Pinot Noirs

pinot noir comptche ridge anthill farms 2 306x350

pinot noir comptche ridge anthill farms 2 306x350

Anthill farms pinot noir Anderson Valley 2019 – organic and biodynamic
Anthill farms pinot noir comptche ridge 2019 – organic and biodynamic

Anthill Farms is an exciting project that focuses on producing exceptional Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah from a broad range of North Coast vineyards. The properties are managed with intensive and meticulous farming practices, with minimal ecological impact.

As for winemaking, there are two unchanging goals: to make wines that express the growing site and the characteristics of the vintage above all else, and to make wines that, simply put, taste good.

These goals require gentle handling from crushing to bottling, judicious use of oak, and, perhaps most importantly, leaving the wine alone as much as possible.  

“We didn’t know whether the name was really great or really dumb,” admits Anthill Farms Winery partner Webster Marquez. “It came about because we’re all winemakers and people would see us all scrambling around trying to grab the same hose at once; they said it was like watching a bunch of ants.”  

This trio of ants—Marquez, Anthony Filiberti and David Low—met while working at Sonoma’s Williams Selyem. Says Marquez, “We realized that we have the same approach: using Pinot Noir—the most ‘transparent’ grape in the world—to communicate the way vineyards from cooler areas create distinctive wines.” The partners themselves farm many of the small plots where they buy their grapes, and the results of this labor of love are remarkably seductive wines that combine concentration and finesse. Now that the company has grown from producing 200 cases in 2004 to 2500 this year, the trio’s work is becoming ever more demanding.

Notes Marquez, “It’s a good thing we’re young and don’t need much sleep.” –Food & Wine Magazine’s “Most Promising New Winery”   

Anderson Valley bottling:  100% Pinot Noir from a selection of barrels from Abbey Harris and Leal in the Boonville Ridges; and Baker Ranch and Forste in the Philo Ridges. Primarily Bearwallow-Wolfey soils, which produce wines with savory, spice-influenced flavors and more pronounced tannic structure.  40% whole-cluster and native yeast ferment. Very low added sulfur.

Winery notes:  With this Pinot, we look to create a food-friendly, nuanced wine that represents the unique character of the Anderson Valley. Somewhat remote from most of Northern California’s wine-growing districts, this valley shelters a surprisingly harmonious blend of the wild and the civilized: in one vista, one can see sheep ranches, redwood groves, apple orchards, and impenetrable oak scrub.

Previous vintage review:  90 points, Vinous:  The 2018 Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley) is an excellent choice for drinking upon release. Ripe, heady, and bold, the 2018 is wonderfully juicy and supple, with plenty of succulent red fruit, cedar and spice character. It is a terrific appellation-level wine.

Comptche Ridge bottling:  100% Pinot Noir from Swan clones.   Comptche Ridge Vineyard (Mendocino County AVA), planted to fine sandy-clay Franciscan soils.  50% whole clusters and native yeast fermentation, which saw daily punch-downs for three weeks.  Aged for 15 months in French oak (25% new).  Very low added sulfur.   

Winery notes:  This remote vineyard is located in a small natural clearing above the town of Comptche, just inland from the northern Mendocino County coast. Owned and managed by the Weir family, Comptche Ridge is dry-farmed on a complex mix of fine sandy-clayey Franciscan soils and is ringed completely by high redwoods and Douglas-fir. This vineyard is planted primarily to Swan clone.

Previous vintage review: 96 points, Vinous:  Another stellar wine in this range, the 2018 Pinot Noir Comptche Ridge is fabulous. In this vintage, the Comptche Ridge is a bit richer and deeper than it has been while avoiding some of the austerity this wine can show. Beguiling in its aromatics and finely sculpted, the 2018 is marvelously complex. There is plenty of tannin, and the acids are bright (as they are for all these wines), but the 2018 is deep and so multi-faceted. It will appeal most to readers who enjoy taut, structured reds.

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