McHenry Vineyard is located within the Ben Lomond Mountain AVA, close to Bonny Doon. Four acres of Pinot Noir are planted on a sandy slope, 1800 feet above sea level. The vineyard was first planted back in 1972 and produced several award winning wines, but in the early 1990s it became infected with Pierce’s Disease. The family continued to produce wine, sourcing fruit from Carneros as well as Amaya Ridge in Soquel and the vineyard was eventually replanted around 1997-98 with four distinct clones.
The current trend in Pinot Noir that's popular among the critics seems to be for dense, rich, concentrated wines that some have nicknamed "Pinotfandels". McHenry's style is about as far from that as you can get. Many Santa Cruz Mountains Pinots are light in colour, but I think theirs are the lightest I've seen - I've had a darker Rosé. High acid, earthy notes, elegance and delicacy are hallmarks, with careful use of French oak; I don't think they'd be wildly out of place in a line-up of old-world wines.
Currently the winery offers two releases, both from their estate vineyard. One is the Estate Pinot Noir, the other is designated "Swan Clones". Both are available for around $25-$30 and are excellent value.
2006 McHenry Vineyard Estate Pinot Noir
Very light colour, even by the usual Santa Cruz Mountains standards.
Earthy nose with red currant and cherry. Lots of acidity at first, but as you get used to it the fruit shows through, with nice cherry notes. The tannins appear light, but there's enough there to indicate that it may benefit from cellaring. Light bodied at first, it seems to gain weight with air. Very good value. 91