Peay 2016 New Arrivals

I was deeply imporessed with the wines I tasted from Peay this year. I found the Pinot Noirs particularly of note. The wines are positively brilliant. ANTONIO GALLONI

Peay is in the middle of nowhere. Literally. Reaching the sprawling, rugged estate is an adventure in and of itself. A collection of hillside sites with mulriple exposures set within underveloped forest, Peay is one of the most marginal sites for growing grapes, even within the context of the Sonoma Coast. Two tonnes per acre, the bare minimum for most vineyards, is a rare occurrence. The wines though, are usually terrific, and often magnificent. Readers who have not discovered Peay owe it to themselves to do so. The Pinots, in particular, are worthy of note. ANTONIO GALLONI

Run by Andy and Nick Peay and Nick's wife Vanessa Wong (winemaker), the trio's attention to detail in the vineyards and prosecution of their unique isolated site in the northern reaches of the West Sonoma Coast just a few miles from the Pacific creates a formidable combination of site and talent.

The site itself is something unique, not only within the context of the Sonoma, but also within a world context. It is the coldest site for pinot noir and chardonnay of the world's most renowned regions and has a unique micro-climate which is both maritime and cold. This translates into cool and very long ripening seasons ensuring slow sugar accumulation in the berry but the time on vines also means that the berry develops a full flavour profile.

Nick Peay who handles the viticulture has split the 35-acre site into 20-25 blocks based on clonal selection, elevation and exposure. The wines are then vinified separately (25 different vinifications) before being blended into the three estate pinot noirs, Pomarium, Scallop Shelf and Ama. Importantly, each wine is combination of 5-6 clones and blocks and do not represent a specific area of the vineyard but instead are a stylistic expression of pinot noir from the vineyard. Everything that doesn't make the cut goes into the Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and then declassified again into the everyday drinking Cep Pinot Noir.  

Chardonnays number two wines, an Estate and the Sonoma Coast bottling. The wines are an antidote to the common perception of USA Chardonnay being fat and lush. Here, both wines have elements of decadence, but it is so beautifully subsumed into a more refined structure that the combination makes for balanced wines above all else.