John Alban was the first pioneer to dedicate his entire winery and vineyards to the Rhone varieties in 1989, at a time when almost nothing was grown in California that wasn’t Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay. For the first 15 years a fourth of all Alban’s vineyards were planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, most of which was sold to other wineries. As the success of the Rhone varieties slowly elapsed, more and more of the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vineyards were uprooted, all but one, which was particularly important to the Albans. North is perched on a steep north facing hillside and planted into loam frosted sandstone, it is an isolated and unique block comprised of one and a half hectare of Pinot Noir and just a half hectare of Chardonnay. The first vintage was in 2010 when 540 bottles of Pinot Noir were produced.
“Another sensational wine released under the North label, there are 200 cases of the 2013 Pinot Noir and, like the Chardonnay, it had just been bottled a little over a week prior to my visit. A rich, full-flavored beauty that doesn’t put a foot wrong and still offers fabulous Pinot Noir typicity, it reveals a ruby translucent colour to go with classic currants, forest floor, liquorice and assorted earthy, underbrush aromas and flavours. Full-bodied, layered, seamless and perfectly balanced, with terrific intensity and length, it’s a gorgeous effort to drink anytime over the coming decade, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it evolve longer. These Pinots and Chardonnays all come from John Alban‘s estate in the Edna Valley. Without a doubt, these 2013s are the greatest I’ve tasted from him.” Robert Parker, 96 Points.£14 per 100.00ml