It was in 1999 when Joseph Phelps first purchased land in the small Sonoma County town of Freestone in the West Sonoma Coast. Better known for cattle, pasture and forestland, the region was relatively untested for wine grapes. But with its cool climate, Goldridge soils and rumored potential for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the Phelps family was willing to take a risk. Nearly two decades later, Phelps is making some of the most distinctive and expressive wines in the Freestone region.
It’s a bet they’re winning. For the Barrel Auction, Joseph Phelps Vineyards highlighted a single block of Pinot Noir from within its Quarter Moon Vineyard, located on the western edge of Freestone. It’s located on a south-facing slope overlooking the Estero Americano, which funnels cooling marine weather inland from the Pacific Ocean. Block 224 is situated on the uppermost ridge at 800 feet in elevation, which enjoys exceptional sun and wind exposure throughout the growing season. Planted to Clone 459, Block 224 is typically reserved by the winery for a single-vineyard Pinot Noir bottling. Wines from this block display richly concentrated dark fruit, orange peel and pepper-spice aromatics, along with elegant tannin structure and balance. This one-of-a-kind offering is the first block-designated Pinot Noir ever created from Quarter Moon Vineyard.