By Laura Ness
Winning “Best of Marin” at the 2018 North Coast Wine Challenge with the 2015 DeLoach Marin Pinot Noir made it four years in a row that Brian Maloney, Director of Sonoma County Winemaking for Boisset Collection, claimed the honor. He’s been making pinot noir from Marin since 2009, but having grown up west of Petaluma, he’s long been a fan of wines from the region. Despite the surrounding waters, which make it warmer and wetter than Napa and Sonoma during the winter, the maritime influence also makes Marin one of the coolest AVA’s in the state.
“The cooler site and long hang times translate into high quality wines with balance, natural acidity and lower alcohol levels,” says Maloney of the three vineyards he sources from, Azaya, Corda and Stubbs, to create the Marin pinot. They are in the northern part of Marin that borders the Petaluma Gap.
Maloney found the sites, which are planted to a mix of clones 114, 115, 667, 828, and Pommard, courtesy of Marin farmer and vineyardist, Mark Pasternak, by way of vintner Dan Goldfield, who has been making wine from vineyards in Marin for years.
“It’s a perfect combination of soil and climate,” says Maloney, who draws a similarity between the well-drained sandstone of these northern Marin vineyards and that of the Sonoma Coast. “Great drainage and a moderate climate lead to great, dark colors and ample acidity. We’ve had great success with this wine from the very first vintage. There is a consistency and quality to the wines.”
Vintage 2015 presented a challenge, with its high drought impact, difficult fruit set and late season frost. “We didn’t even pick fruit from Azaya and Stubbs,” Maloney explains. “It wasn’t worth it.”
Consequently, the 2015 Marin Pinot is entirely from the Corda Vineyard, from which they sourced Pommard and 828 that season. Says Maloney, “This is an exceptionally finessed version of pinot noir that we feel makes it unique as well as delicious. We work with great vineyard partners and seeing our wine recognized helps reinforce that feeling of pride we have for the team and our growers.”
He’s very excited about vintage 2018 from these vineyards, and even picked some fruit from Stubbs for a sparkling that will probably be released in 2021.
Boisset has entered the North Coast Wine Challenge since its inception with all of their Sonoma brands, DeLoach, Buena Vista, Wattle Creek and JCB. They’ve taken Best of Marin with the DeLoach Marin pinot four consecutive times, and hope to keep that streak going.
They also enter the San Francisco Chronicle, California State Fair, Sonoma County Harvest Fair, Harvest Challenge, Dan Berger’s International Wine Competition, and International Women’s Wine Competition, among others.
Asked what makes North Coast Wine Challenge unique, Megan Long, Communications Manager for Boisset Collection says, “The judges read like a Who’s Who list of the wine world and have incredible palates. The public event is also one of the very best we participate in, thoughtfully organized and arranged and with amazing food by top chefs to accompany the wines.”
If you’re looking for a perfectly well-tuned and acid-driven pinot to accompany your favorite fish or poultry dish, give the 2015 DeLoach Marin Pinot Noir a whirl and a swirl. And keep an eye on the 2016: it just might five-peat.