VOL 11, ISSUE 50
Nov 1, 2019

McHenry Vineyard

Owner(s) Henry McHenry, Linda McHenry
Web site www.mchenryvineyard.com
Link to this site
McHenry Vineyard

McHenry Vineyard is a small family-owned producer of Pinot Noir from a single vineyard in the Bonny Doon area of the Santa Cruz Mountains. It is one of the oldest family-run estate wineries in the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA.

The original vineyard was planted by Dean, Jane, Henry and Linda McHenry in 1972. Pinot Noirs from this vineyard won numerous medals in state wine competitions. Unfortunately, the 2.5-acre vineyard was devastated by Pierce’s Disease and ceased production in 1992. In 1997, it was replanted to Pommard, Pinot 13, Dijon 115 and a Swan selection. Located on a sandy mountain slope at 1,800 feet elevation, it is 5 miles from the Pacific Ocean.

Henry is a retired professor of anthropology at UC Davis (where he learned his winemaking skills). In 2017, after 42 harvests, he is turning over the winemaking and winegrowing duties to daughter Annalisa McHenry, son-in-law Brandon Blanchard and nephew Ian McHenry.

Winemaking at McHenry has always been old-fashioned and hands-on, using an old Italian crusher acquired in 1977, fermenting in 4x4 open-top vats, and finishing with the same basket press used for years. The McHenry wines are made in a very delicate and elegant style of great charm and subtlety. Aging is done in Francois Frères barrels for two years before release.

McHenry Vineyard wines can be ordered by phoning Linda McHenry at 530-756-3202 or e-mailing her at lmchenry@dcn.davis.ca.us. Nothing flashy here, just fine artisan Pinot Noir at a sensible price.

Reviewed Wines

2012 McHenry Vineyard Swan Clone Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., <96 cases, $25. From a 2-acre vineyard in Bonny Doon at 1800’ elevation, five miles from the Pacific Ocean. Harvest Brix 24º. Aged 2 years in French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Very sexy perfume of fresh cherries, red plum, rose petal, soy and sweet oak. Cherry and cranberry flavors explode on entry and persist through an expansive, citrus-infused cherry finish. Impressive balance and oak management, and highly accessible. The finish is exceptional. Score: 92. Reviewed March 16, 2015 ARTICLE »

2010 McHenry Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., <320 cases, $25. A Santa Cruz Mountains cult wine that is grown, produced and bottled by McHenry Vineyard on Boony Doon Rd in the Santa Cruz Mountains. This 2-acre vineyard sits at 1,800 feet elevation five miles from the Pacific Ocean. Aged 2 years in French oak. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Bright aromas of fresh cherry pie glaze, baking spice and sandalwood lead to a light to mid weight core of dark red cherry, sassafras, espresso and spice flavors. Balanced tannins, lively acidity, and a satisfying finish filled with grace and intensity. The wine has plenty of flash when first poured, but loses some appeal over time in the glass indicating it should be drunk now. Score: 89. Reviewed July 19, 2014 ARTICLE »

2010 McHenry Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., 320 cases, $30. The McHenrys herald the 2010 vintage as “the best.” · Moderately light deep garnet color in the glass. Lovely aromas of cherries, strawberries, sawdust, cedary oak and a bit of Christmas cheer (spice). Delicious entry, mid palate and finish showing thick fruit flavors, yet delicate in structure and mouth feel. Dark red cherry, dark strawberry, and brown spice flavors are featured. Silky soft like the hair of an angel in the mouth with very impressive finishing presence. Highly unique and quite typical of this vineyard. A perfect marriage of power and finesse. Reviewed January 19, 2013 ARTICLE »

2008 McHenry Estate Swan Clone Estate Bottled Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 74 cases, $35. From a special block in a 2.3-acre vineyard at 1,800 foot elevation the top of Bonny Doon Road, five miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. The vines derive from cuttings propagated from Joe Swan’s vineyard. Aged 21 months in Francois Freres French oak barrels. · Light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of redder fruits, spice, green stem and geranium. Classically styled with elegant flavors of red cherries and supportive notes of oak, sandalwood and green garden. Bright acidity with mild fine-grain tannins, finishing with a dusty, spiced red fruit quality and a hint of grapefruit. A delicate wine that will not appeal to blockbuster Pinot Noir lovers, but has its charm. Good. Reviewed November 2, 2011 ARTICLE »

2006 McHenry Estate Bottled Swan Clone Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 158 cases, $25. Sourced from the estate vineyard planted to own-rooted cuttings from Swan Vineyard and Dijon clone 115. The vineyard is situated at 1,800 feet in the Ben Lomond sub-region of the Santa Cruz Mountains and is one of the closest vineyards to the Pacific Ocean in the AVA. · McHenry Pinot Noirs are very distinctive for their delicate aromas and flavors. Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Lovely aromas of cherries, strawberries, baking spices and a touch of oak. Moderately light in weight but delivering plenty of nuanced flavors of cherries, oak spice, crusty bread and a hint of raisin and earth. Soft in the mouth with gossamer tannins. Some might fine this style too dilute, but I find it quite charming. Very good and a great value as well. Reviewed November 13, 2009 ARTICLE »

2005 McHenry Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., <200 cases, $20. From a 2-acre vineyard Bonny Doon at 1,800 feet elevation, five miles from the Pacific Ocean. Aged two years in French oak. · Dark ruby violet in color. The fruit in this wine is veering toward raisin and seems riper than the 2004 vintage. The red stone fruit is discreetly oaked and interesting accents of spice, pepper and forest floor make for a delicious drink. Soft, clean, and seamless. Easily approachable and a delight to drink. Reviewed October 1, 2008 ARTICLE »

2004 McHenry Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 320 cases, $21. · Very light Burgundy in color. Cherries, spice and barnyard dominate the aromas. Very elegant red fruits, especially raspberry, are enhanced by Asian spices. A healthy acid spine leads to a tangy finish. This is a restrained wine with plenty of finesse and will not appeal to fans of California "Franken Pinots." A perfect partner for lighter foods such as roast chicken or turkey cutlet. Reviewed September 17, 2007 ARTICLE »

2004 McHenry Santa Cruz Mountains Estate Bottled Pinot Noir

13.1% alc., 320 cases, $22. Aged two years in Francois Freres French oak barrels. · Very light rose in color. A little deeper pitched aromas with more cherry. Slightly more fruit intensity on the attack with delightful tangy cherries, wood spice and herbs. A perfect example of “power in a velvet glove” that makes wines from Chambolle-Musigny so sensual and desirable. Reviewed March 17, 2008 ARTICLE »

2004 McHenry Santa Cruz Mountains Estate Bottled Swan Clone Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., 62 cases, $28. From a Swan clone block of the McHenry Vineyard. The clone is planted on its own roots in the nonirrigated vineyard. Aged as the above wine. · Very light rose in color. Demure aromas of crushed strawberries, roses, spice and subtle new oak. A silky entry of red berry fruits, especially wild strawberry enhanced by Xmas spice, with a light and elegant format ending with perky acidity. A perfect food wine with lighter fare. Reviewed March 17, 2008 ARTICLE »

2003 McHenry Estate Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 172 cases, $19.50. This wine was aged for nearly two years in Francois Freres oak barrels and a year in bottle before release. · The winemaker, Henry McHenry said it best: “A delicate and graceful wine with a soft fruit scent. It has a velvet texture and reminds one of great Volnay in its tenderness, subtlety, and floweriness.” I just flipped over this as well as the 2004 vintage which has yet to be released. This is a perfect example of what Pinot Noir can be, but so rarely is. A lightly colored, elegant wine that is blessed with striking flavor and complexity. The price is just ridiculous considering the quality. Reviewed April 1, 2007 ARTICLE »

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