Peay Vineyards is one of California’s finest producers of hand-crafted Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah. Established in 1996, it sits on an isolated mountain ridge along the “true” Northern Sonoma Coast (near the town of Annapolis) in the coastal fog belt five miles from the Pacific. The Peay 48-acre hilltop vineyard enjoys long sunny days and cool nights that contribute to slow and continuous ripening of their grapes. Meticulous vineyard management results in balanced vines, low yields, and concentrated fruit flavors.
The operation is jointly managed by brothers Nick and Andy Peay and Nick’s wife, Vanessa Wong. Two years ago publisher Mike Potashnik had the good fortune to visit with them at their estate, taste through their current releases, and learn a great deal about the achievements and the challenges facing these young producers as they strive to make wines of high quality and originality, expressive of the Northern Sonoma Coast terroir. Since then, the International Wine Review has tasted all of their new releases in 2009 and 2010, and we are happy to report that the wines simply get better and better. The 2009 vintage is one of their finest in recent years.
Peay Vineyards 2009 Estate Chardonnay Sonoma Coast ($52) 91+
The 2009 Estate Chardonnay offers ripe orchard fruit on the nose with nuances of light smoke and minerals. Fermented in new and used French barriques, it reveals a medium-weight palate, fruit and mineral flavors, and well integrated light oak. It has excellent structure with good acidity on the finish.
Peay Vineyards 2009 Ama Estate Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast ($46) 92
The 2009 Estate Pinot Noir reveals a medium ruby hue and intense floral, cherry and raspberry aromas. On the palate it is elegant and refined with delicious red berry fruit flavors, a silky texture, excellent balance and a persistent finish. Delicious.
Peay Vineyards 2009 La Bruma Estate Syrah Sonoma Coast ($47) 90+
This cool climate Syrah boasts a dark ruby hue and aromas of black cherry, plum and faint notes of leather. On the palate it offers spicy blackberry fruit, a velvet smooth texture, round tannins and a delicious fruit-rich finish.
Peay Vineyards 2009 Pinot Noir Estate Scallop Shelf Sonoma Coast ($54) 93+
The Pinot Noir Scallop Shelf is among our favorite wines from this estate. It exhibits magnificent purity of cherry fruit and is unbelievably elegant and silky on the palate. It has such finesse that it is hard to believe it is a New World wine. Moreover, it is certainly at the quality level of Premier and Gran Cru Burgundy. Superb.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler