2018 Handley Cellars Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley
Being so far removed from the hubbub of Napa and Sonoma, in the northwest corner of Anderson Valley north of Philo, was the ideal location for Milla Handley to craft wines under her own banner. With plenty of experience under her belt at some of Sonoma’s top estates, she was seeking an environment that was consistent with her goal of producing delicate, balanced wines that conveyed a sense of place. In 1982, she found her own paradise in the verdant hills of Mendocino County, the peaceful, bucolic and extraordinarily beautiful Anderson Valley to be specific. Very few wineries existed in the area at the time, only acres and acres of green pastures and plenty of sheep to meander in the fog-shrouded hills. Still, Milla wasn’t interested in big-time fame and glory; only the right combination of soil, weather and micro-climate to produce naturally expressive wines; fresh, lively Pinot Noir, vibrant Chardonnay and spicy Gewurztraminer.
Handley Cellars has been around for a good long time now and though Milla left us way too early, her vision and purpose continue under the capable direction of her daughter, Lulu, herself extremely well-versed in traditional farming techniques and organic viticulture. Handley Cellars has always been at the forefront of low-impact winegrowing and their 29 acres of vineyards are now certified organic. The winery pursues a natural, eco-friendly philosophy in everything they do, providing a model for other estates and producing wines that are as delicious and engaging as they are evocative of the regional terroir. As it turns out, Milla was somewhat prescient in her belief that high quality Pinot Noir could be made in this relatively cool climate. The bright, sunny days and cool, foggy nights yield perfectly ripe grapes, lovingly tended by long-time vineyard manager, Jose Jimenez and vinified by veteran winemaker, Randy Schock. We are delighted to offer this wonderful wine for your enjoyment and to support Milla’s legacy of producing honest, authentic, artisanal wines.
Winery Notes: This wine blended from five different vineyards Handley Estate (50%), RSM Estate (19%), Helluva (15%), Lost Creek (9%), and Roderick (7%) embodies the spirit of Anderson Valley. Aromas of warm cherry pie, cola, violets, and a hint of clove on the finish. Round and full on the palate with flavors of red cherries, ripe plum, and notes of cardamom with soft tannins and vibrant acidity to focus the long finish. Aged for 10 months in all French Oak barrels (25% new).
Wine Spectator: Fresh, open and inviting, with a core of raspberry and mulberry notes lined with the touch of sous-bois. Nicely focused, black tea-tinged finish has a good lingering feel. 90 points