“About a year ago, we shipped a Comptche Ridge Vineyards Pinot Noir & received a really, really good response. That isn’t surprising given Anderson’s Valley quick ascension to the utter echelon of Pinot Noir regions in America. We originally were interested in Comptche Ridge Vineyards because they sell some fruit to Anthill Farms for a vineyard designate Pinot Noir. Of course, if you want to buy that Pinot Noir, good luck…Anthill’s waiting list these days is pretty legendary and likely a number of years long.
As with many winemakers though, the guys at Anthill make a number of different wines. From Bluxome Street in San Francisco, to this Comptche Ridge bottling itself, the guys behind Anthill Farms have a number of other projects, that are basically the same style of wine, without the huge waiting list.
The Comptche Ridge folks held a small scale tasting at Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco, in a little known 3rd floor room that, in my opinion is quintessential San Francisco.
To get up there, you’ll probably need an escort from the hostess as I did. You walk up the main stairs into the 2nd floor and then cut past a number of tables, to the staircase which is marked “exit only”. Head up those stairs and you find the wine cellar and some more tables in a larger room, which I am guessing the Tavern uses for private events.
Comptche Ridge was pouring their 2012 and 2013 Pinot Noir, as well as a neighbor’s Chardonnay and a dessert wine, that the Europeans consider an apertif.
It was an interesting event for me largely because, as usual, I was the first to arrive, so I had some time to spend with vineyard owner Mark Weir by myself.
Mark talked about a wide range of issues and things that told me the story of Comptche Ridge in exquisite detail. To start, I was wondering why sell to Anthill and not one of the larger names in wine?” Read the rest of the Uncorked Ventures article
Comptche Ridge, a chilly area in Mendocino County, held appeal for the Weir Brothers even in their youth. Mark and John Weir visited the region from San Francisco as children in the 70’s but, looking for a place to raise their families, settled in the small town of Comptche in the mid-1990s. They purchased a turn-of-the-century property with natural ridge clearings – think windy and cool. Although untested and daring, they bravely planted Pinot Noir on these ridges in 2000, saw the results and then planted more in 2005, for a total of eight acres.
This tiny winery makes one wine per vintage, a blend of their eight acres of estate vineyards. The 2012 vintage produced only 45 cases. Since their ranch lies “off the grid,” their wine is made at Anthill Farms Winery in Healdsburg, California (Sonoma County). Wines high in acid and long on bright, red fruit are what define the Pinots from Comptche Ridge.
“94 - Wonderfully layered and sensual in the glass, the 2012 Pinot Noir Comptche Ridge is all about texture, silkiness and polish. Dark red cherry, plum, licorice, smoke and star anise are some of the many notes that grace the palate in this exquisite, layered Pinot. The 50% whole clusters add lift, but are also beautifully integrated.”