Filed under: Events, Restaurants, Retail, reviews, Vineyards, Winemaking | Tags: 2012 Pinot Noir vintage, anderson valley pinot noir, New Year's, Pinot Days Chicago, Pinot Noir, Rex Pickett, Sideways, Waits-Mast Pinot Noir
With 2012 barely a glimmer in our rear-view mirror, we’re excited about all that 2013 will bring. 2012 was a good year in many ways, so we thought we would take a quick look back at some of the highlights of the year for our little winery and provide a brief preview of what to expect in 2013. Here are four things, in no particular order, about 2012 that made the year in winemaking for Waits-Mast Family Cellars a great one, plus a preview of things to come:
1. The 2012 Vintage: the growing season this year was consistent and cool with minimal disruptions. A few heat spikes here or there, but nothing to worry about. In 2012, we became more focused on Mendocino County and decided to only use pinot noir fruit sourced from that region, working with vineyards from Anderson Valley to Mendocino Ridge to Comptche. We worked with a total of five different vineyards this year, continuing with Wentzel Vineyard in Anderson Valley and Oppenlander Vineyard in Comptche. We returned to Deer Meadows Vineyard, 1600 feet above Anderson Valley and worked with two vineyards for the first time: Nash Mill in Anderson Valley and Mariah in the Mendocino Ridge appellation. Besides being in Mendocino County, what these vineyards also have in common is that each is independently-owned, small and well managed. We just barrel tasted the 2012s the other day and we’re excited for this vintage – but patience will need to prevail as the wines will be in barrel for a number of months (except for a rosé…wait, did we say rosé? Look at the 2013 preview for more info.)
2. Tasting Events: 2012 was a year where we poured at more events than ever. We continued to pour at our favorites, like the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival and Pinot Days, but also tried out some new events like Taste of Mendocino and Winesong. And every once in a while, a special opportunity comes along. Being able to pour our wine at Sideways the Play in Santa Monica this past summer was a blast. The play naturally drew a crowd of Pinot Noir fans and it was a treat for Brian to meet Rex Pickett, author of Sideways and Vertical. The best thing about all of these events is seeing old friends and meeting new ones. We’re always up for talking about wine, whether we’re geeking out about clones or cold soaks or just enjoying the wine and trading stories with our visitors. Inevitably, a colorful remark or gesture arises and our day is made.
3. Accolades: our wines continued to garner strong trade press and blog reviews. Each of our 2009 vintage Pinot Noir wines received good reviews in outlets like Wine Enthusiast, PinotFile, Wine & Spirits, Daily Sip and more. The inclusion in Wine & Spirits’ “Best 100 Wines of 2012” was definitely a highlight. We were honored to have the 2009 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir from Deer Meadows Vineyard featured among some of the best wines across the world. In the PinotFile newsletter, our 2009 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir from Oppenlander Vineyard in Mendocino County received a Pinot Geek rating from the Prince of Pinot and made his 2012 California Pinot Noir All-Americans list (honorable mention).
4. Restaurants and Wine Shops: we’ve been working hard to get our wines in restaurants and wine shops to make it easier for people to try and buy our wines. It was great to have the support and response from wine stores like Wine Club Santa Clara, K&L Wines, SF Wine Trading Co, Canyon Market, Wine Exchange, Robert’s Market, and Little Vine. And we’re thrilled to be placed on some incredible wine lists at restaurants like Kokkari, Michael Mina, Brasserie S&P, Liberty Cafe, The Hobbit, moto, L2o, Acadia, Boonville Hotel, MacCallum House and more. For a full list of restaurants and wine stores that carry our wine, go to the News section of our website.
5. 2013 – a preview: Okay, so here is a short list of things we’re excited about in 2013:
- Releasing our other two 2010 wines from Oppenlander Vineyard & Archer Family Vineyard (RRV) this Spring
- Releasing our first rosé of Pinot Noir this Spring (see photo above)- wine club members will get it first. It is a saignée of the fruit from three different vineyards and it is tasting great already. More to come.
- Bottling our 2011s and tasting them along the way to see which ones will be ready for a Fall release
- Pinot Days Chicago – it used to be in November, but now is in April. We love the “home crowd” here as Brian’s Midwestern roots harken him back home.
- The 2013 vintage – so hard to think about the next vintage when we feel like we just wrapped up 2012, but harvest will be here before you know it.
- Hopefully seeing and hearing from you, our fans, along the way. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for all of these updates and more.
With that, we wish you the happiest of New Year’s and a bountiful and peaceful 2013.
Filed under: Awards, reviews | Tags: 100 Best Wines 2012, 2009 Deer Meadows Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, annual buyer's guide, Top 100, Wine & Spirits
When we saw our 2009 Waits-Mast, Deer Meadows Pinot Noir from Anderson Valley and our 2009 Waits-Mast, La Encantada Pinot Noir from Sta. Rita Hills featured in Wine & Spirits‘ April 2012 issue of 129 Best American Pinot Noirs, we were very excited and honored. With a 94 point rating for the Deer Meadows and a 91 point rating for the La Encantada, it was great to be featured amongst other leading Pinot Noir from California and Oregon.
But when we found out that the 2009 Waits-Mast from Deer Meadows Vineyard was going to be included in Wine & Spirits‘ 100 Best Wines of 2012 in their 26th Annual Buying Guide (on newsstands this week), we were downright dumbfounded. Not because the wine isn’t a very special wine – it is a complex, layered and nuanced wine that has brought some to tears – but just because we’re this little micro-boutique winery making only 200 or 300 cases per year.
To be featured among 99 other amazing wines of all varietals from around the world, and among the eight Pinot Noir wines featured from California and Oregon, is thrilling, to say the least.
Well, enough about us, here’s what Wine & Spirits said about the wine: “94 points…a rich red fruit flavor of tiny woodland berries, tart and fragrant. There’s a salty porcini note, a coastal forest feel, delicate and harmonious.”
The Deer Meadows, like many of our 2009s, has been very popular among our fans and retail and restaurant customers. We are starting to run low on inventory of this wine – we only made 48 cases and have about 10 cases left.
That scarcity will continue after the 2009 vintage, as we will not have any more Deer Meadows Pinot Noir available until we bottle our 2012 vintage, so acquire some of this special wine today by going to our webstore. If you’re not in a state we ship to, San Francisco Wine Trading Company carries it online and can ship to most states. You can also find the 2009 Deer Meadows at Robert’s Market in Woodside, Canyon Market in San Francisco, and at the following Northern California restaurants: Kokkari, Liberty Cafe, Cin-Cin Wine Bar & Restaurant, Boonville Hotel and MacCallum House.
Filed under: In the news, reviews, Tasting notes | Tags: 2009 California Pinot Noir, anderson valley pinot noir, Deer Meadows Vineyard, La Encantada, Sta. Rita Hills, Wine & Spirits Magazine
We’re very excited about the inclusion of two different Waits-Mast Pinot Noir wines in Wine & Spirits Magazine’s April 2012 issue that just came out on newsstands today. The magazine, which is geared towards restaurants and retailers as well as consumers, published its annual roundup of the “Year’s Best Pinot Noir”, looking at Pinot Noir from California and Oregon appellations. After tasting through 914 new-release Pinot Noirs over the last 12 months, its critics rated 121 as “exceptional” or 90+ pts and another 62 as “best buys”.
The 2009 Waits-Mast Deer Meadows Vineyard Pinot Noir from Anderson Valley was in the top 10 California Pinot Noirs reviewed, received a rating of 94 points and this review:
Brian Mast and Jennifer Waits were wine drinkers and media/ communications professionals when they attended the technical conference at the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival in 2000. By 2005, they had made their first wine and they began producing micro-lots of pinot noir under the Waits-Mast label in 2007 (the winery remains a part-time gig). This one comes from a southeast-facing vineyard at 1,600 feet in the hills above Boonville. It’s whole-berry fermented without stems, providing a rich red fruit flavor of tiny woodland berries, tart and fragrant. There’s a salty porcini note, a coastal forest feel, delicate and harmonious. (49 cases)
The 2009 Waits-Mast La Encantada Vineyard Pinot Noir from Sta. Rita Hills received a 91 pt rating and this review:
A micro-cuvée from the team at Waits-Mast, this is more vinous than many pinots from the Santa Rita Hills. It’s clean and fragrant with mouthwatering, tart cherry flavor and root-like spiciness. There’s a chalkiness to the tannins balancing a sweet, gentle finish. Serve it with a gamey, heritage-breed pork chop. (23 cases)
So, we’re super-pumped about making it into this short-list of great wines. The Wine & Spirits tasting process is pretty rigorous. It is double-blind, with a selection panel made up of sommeliers, winemakers, retailers and other wine industry folks tasting the first round and then recommending about 20-30% of the wines to get to the next round. In the next round, a Wine & Spirits critic reviews the wines again blind (from a second bottle provided by the winery), and writes up the review and decides on scores. More on their tasting process can be found here.
For a super-small winery like ourselves to be included in this field of top producers, folks like Williams-Selyem, Hirsch, Flowers, Freestone and others is humbling and gratifying. We recommend that you go out and buy the hard copy of the magazine to see all the reviews and a great feature story on Anderson Valley.
So, we’ll momentarily savor the reviews and the wonderful adjectives and then move on to our winemaking and other tasks. We also look forward to seeing the smiles of people tasting our wines at the upcoming events this spring and summer.
Filed under: reviews | Tags: Amber Ridge Vineyard, Deer Meadows Vineyard, Hayley Vineyard, Jon Bonne, La Encantada Vineyard, Pinot Noir, San Francisco Chronicle, Wine Enthusiast
Our 2009 vintage has received a warm reception from both consumers and the trade that we have poured for over the last few months. Seeing Pinot Noir fans react positively to our wines at our tasting tables or wine shop owners or sommeliers is always gratifying – we like seeing smiles, wistful far-off-looks and the occasional welling up of tears in the eyes. Add some well-chosen words, and things get really poetic.
So it’s also rewarding to have our wines go through blind tastings by respected members of the wine trade media. Our 2009 Pinot Noir lineup has recently received some favorable reviews, including 90+ point ratings in Wine Enthusiast‘s December 15, 2011 issue. The best part of these reviews is always the descriptors. Wine writers are in the profession for a reason – they are good with words.
Here is a sample of the recent reviews from Wine Enthusiast:
- 2009 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills: 92 points. “Ripe fruit, in the form of raspberries, cherries and figs, characterizes this luscious Pinot. But it has much more going for it than that. The tannins are rich and complex, the finish is dry and spicy, and the overall impression is of wine with a great pedigree. Drink over the next six years.”
- 2009 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir, Amber Ridge Vineyard, Russian River Valley: 90 points. “Classic coastal California Pinot, dry, silky and complex. So easy to like, gliding across the palate with raspberry, cherry, Canadian bacon and smoky sandalwood flavors that are filled with umami richness. Best over the next four years.”
- 2009 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir, Hayley Vineyard, Anderson Valley: 90 points. “Delivers plenty of rich Pinot flavor from the great Anderson Valley of Mendocino County. Raspberries, cherries, pomegranates, Dr. Pepper cola, spices and sandalwood flood the mouth, wrapped into a silky texture. Nice now, although it could develop bottle complexity over the next 3–4 years.”
Wine Enthusiast also gave our 2009 Deer Meadows Vineyard Pinot Noir 90 points, with the following description: “raspberries, cherries, vanilla, cinnamon spice and sandalwood wash over the palate, just delicious.”
The Deer Meadows also made it on the short list of Anderson Valley Pinot Noir wines reviewed by Jon Bonne in the San Francisco Chronicle in October. It ranked as one of the 11 best out of over 40 bottles tasted, and received the following review:
This San Francisco label tapped an impressive parcel – the site at 1,600-feet elevation farmed by Richard Savoy that was the source of Littorai’s One Acre bottle. Eucalyptus-driven and piney; it’s chewy and more of a forest-driven wine, with lots of bright citrus to finish.
As we like to say, we love our wines, but we love it when others love our wines, too! And if you want to try all of our wines, we recently released a couple of multi-packs. We have a Fifth Vintage 5-Pack to celebrate the five different Pinots we made in our fifth vintage and we have a Mendocino County 3-Pack for for all of our Mendocino and Anderson Valley Pinots. Both are priced with a package discount, so enjoy!
Filed under: News, reviews, Tasting notes | Tags: Amber Ridge Vineyard, La Encantada Vineyard, Pinot Noir, Steve Heimoff, Wine Enthusiast
The latest online ratings for Wine Enthusiast magazine came out today and two of Waits-Mast Pinot Noir wines were favorably reviewed by west coast wine reviewer Steve Heimoff. We had gotten a heads up about the scores awhile back, but the full reviews weren’t published until today. Without further ado, here they are:
Waits-Mast 2008 La Encantada Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills) – “92 points: Lots of zesty acidity in this wine, which gives it a mouthwatering raciness. It’s bone dry but ultrarich and ripe in cherries, raspberries and oak. There’s a slightly bretty funkiness that adds a mushroomy appeal. Should develop over the next six years. – S.H. (12/15/2010)”
Waits-Mast 2008 Amber Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley) – “87 points: Soft and fruity, with raspberry, cherry, Dr. Pepper and oak flavors. It has the jammy, marmalade taste of freshly crushed berries, with citrusy acidity. The oak is front and center. Might develop with a few years in the bottle. – S.H. (12/15/2010)”
To see the reviews on Wine Enthusiast’s website, click here.
We’re very excited about these reviews and Heimoff does a great job of describing the flavors in these wines. They are also in short supply – we have about nine cases of the La Encantada and four cases of the Amber Ridge left in stock, so get ’em while you can!