Our selection comes from the father and son team of James McDonough, Senior and Junior. The family originally hails from Chicago, where James, Sr., still resides - though he does come out on occasion to visit the homestead in Sonoma. Their winery, Wren Hop, was named after the resident birds who can devastate a grape crop unless the vines are covered with netting. So, they have to hop over it.
Every grape gets its flavor and style from the soil in which it is grown. No other grape is as sensitive to its soil as Pinot Noir is. When you open the bottle, it's as if you can almost smell the vineyard before you can smell the grape. With Pinot Noir, location is everything - and then some.
As far as California locations go for this grape, very few are as revered as Sonoma's Russian River Valley. It was here that McDonough purchased a 10-acre parcel in 2008, and he couldn't have done better.
Winemaker Dan Fishman considers himself a minimal interventionist. What he means by that term is that he tries to make wine using as little additions as possible. This is more important with Pinot Noir than any other grape, so this practice is what is needed to make great wine.
And that he does. Here is exemplary Pinot Noir from one of the best addresses in the business. The climate here is cool so the grapes can hang on the vine longer. This allows the natural acids to come into play, which is what takes all those lovely Bing cherry flavors and coalesces them into magic.