Founded in 2002 by Bill Price (shown here), Three Sticks is part of Price Family Vineyards & Estates, and, so, has access to some of California’s best vineyards, including two of Sonoma’s most prestigious—Durell and Gap’s Crown. In this article we review a selection of Three Sticks Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from the challenging 2020 vintage. Overall, these are well made wines with excellent freshness and refinement and no hint of the smoke taint that afflicted too many of Sonoma’s vineyards in 2020. Ryan Prichard and Carl Formaker oversee the winemaking at Three Sticks. Kudos to them for producing such excellent wines in a difficult year.
Shown below: the Three Sticks tasting room at the 1842 Vallejo-Casteñada Adobe just off the plaza in downtown Sonoma. Ken Fulk designed the renovated interior of the Adobe.
Three Sticks 2020 Chardonnay Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast ($70) 94 Effusive bouquet showing hints of orange citrus, lemon curd and toasty oak. Firmly structured, well balanced and full flavored with tropical fruit notes and a leesy mouthfeel with rich extract on a super long finish. A youthful wine that will only improve with additional bottle aging. Made from Wente and Hyde clones fermented and aged 14 months in 34% new French oak. 3.34 pH, 14.1% alc. The Durell Vineyard is in the Carneros and Sonoma Valley appellations.
Three Sticks 2020 Chardonnay Alana Vineyard Russian River Valley ($75) 95 Opens with fine scents of lemon curd and toasty oak. Elegant and seamless with a precise and deep palate showing well integrated fruit and oak. Long, pure finish. A very impressive wine that’s well worth the price! All Wente clone fermented in French oak with full malo and 14 months aging in 30% new French oak. 3.32 pH, 14.1% alc. Alana is in the Green Valley of Russian River Valley appellation.
Three Sticks 2020 Pinot Noir Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast ($75) 93 Medium ruby red. Deep red berry and plum fruit aromas complemented by a light earthy quality and an overall sense of purity. Firm and rich on entry with concentrated fruit and herbal flavors and a very long, savory finish. Impressive, supple texture with well-knit, grippy tannins. 10% whole cluster; matured 15 months in 55% new French oak. 3.50 pH, 13.9% alc.
Three Sticks 2020 Pinot Noir Gap’s Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast ($75) 94 The 2020 Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir is youthful and fresh with subtle red fruit on the nose followed by a silky-smooth attack. Well-structured and superbly balanced with an underlying intensity of pretty red cherry compote fruit and hints of toasted oak. Very very long, refined finish. Several clones fermented 20% whole cluster and matured 15 months in 56% new French oak. 3.48 pH, 14% alc. Gap’s Crown is located in the Sonoma Mountain and Petaluma Gap appellations.
Three Sticks 2020 Pinot Noir Walala Vineyard Sonoma Coast ($75) 95 Light, elegant, and very, very fresh, the Walala Vineyard reveals the character of the West Sonoma Coast. It begins with an ethereal nose of red cherry, pomegranate and raspberry aromas all mirrored on a palate of refined, pretty fruit. Beautifully balanced with good acidity and integrated oak, finishing with firm tannins. Clones 115 and 113 fermented 20% whole cluster and aged 15 months in 52% new French oak. 3.45 pH, 14% alc. Walala is located 6 miles from the Pacific in the northwestern portion of Sonoma County. Walala is located within the West Sonoma Coast appellation.
Three Sticks 2020 Pinot Noir William James Vineyard Russian River Valley ($75) 94 Light ruby red color with scents of ripe red raspberry and savory, herbal notes. Seductively silky in the mouth with solidly expressive raspberry and pomegranate beneath the prominent earth and dried herbal flavors. Swan, Calera and Dijon 943 clones fermented 20% whole cluster and matured 15 months in 52% new French oak. 3.52 pH, 14% alc.