Wife and husband Jennifer Waits and Brian Mast specialize in single vineyard sources to express the diverse terroirs of Pinot Noir in Mendocino. Their miniscule productions (about 100 cases each) are made in a San Francisco custom-crush facility by Shalini Sekhar, a SF Chronicle 2019 “Rising Star Winemakers to Watch”.
One of our very passionate and loyal customers, who is studying her way through the more challenging advanced WSET levels, generously gifted us a bottle of her favorite Pinot Noir, the 2019 Waits-Mast from Mariah Vineyard, Mendocino Ridge AVA!! Mariah Vineyard is situated at 2400 feet above sea level along a remote spine-like ridge about 9 miles from the Pacific Ocean in the cool clime Mendocino Ridge AVA.
Flying under the radar, the Mendocino Ridge AVA is a very unique American Viticulture Area as all vineyard plantings must be at least 1200 feet above sea level. Thus, this AVA is the only none-contiguous land mass in the United States. Also known as “Islands in the Sky” AVA, because most of its vineyards are situated and only visible from above the coastal fog-line. The southern border is really an extension of the northern Sonoma Coast AVA, while the eastern border is the Anderson Valley AVA, and to the west is the Pacific Ocean.
The sustainable, organically dry farmed, “regenerative” Mariah Vineyard was planted over 50 years ago by Dan and Vicki Mariah. The Waits-Mast Mariah Vineyard is sourced from a block of Pommard and Dijon 667 clones planted on a combination of Hugo and Josephine loams over well-drained sandstone and fractured shale subsoil. The vines run with an east to western exposure to assure maximum sunlight. The lofty elevation, nearby ocean, wind and fog below help create a dramatic diurnal temperature which slows ripening while protecting the grapes acidity.
The 2019 Waits-Mast Mariah Vineyard Pinot Noir Mendocino Ridge AVA is truly remark-able in every way! Faultless is a better way of putting it. A saturated, deep ruby color with great clarity, the compelling aromatics include redolent wild berries and ripe dark cherry nuances, scarlet rose petal spice, underlying nuances of “loamy-forest floor” and even little hints of black tea. A wonderfully textured and supple wine with a velvety mouthfeel, and stunningly focused vivid flavors. The medium bodied structure is perfectly balanced, accented by inviting freshness, harmonious knit tannins, and a gorgeous ongoing and lingering finish. Simply stated, this wine is brilliant and showcases the immense potential of this amazing, but little-known Mendocino Ridge AVA growing region.
Winery’s price is $47 a bottle.