The first time we tasted Terry Speizer’s Domaine Alfred Pinot Noir, we knew it was special. Moreover, we realized that Domaine Alfred would not remain under the critic’s radar for long, and we were right. Nonetheless, in spite of the great demand for Domaine Alfred’s wines, we have been able to secure a small amount of Speizer’s splendid 2003 Edna Valley Pinot Noir.
Located in the cool Edna Valley of San Luis Obispo, Domaine Alfred is blessed by the wonders of the Central California coast environment, which include a long growing cycle, idyllic soil, and a perfect climate. Moreover, all of Domaine Alfred’s wines are made and estate bottled by Terry Speizer with grapes from the winery’s historic Chamisal Vineyard.
Chamisal, the first vineyard in Edna Valley, was originally planted in 1972. Purchased by the ingenious Terry Speizer in 1994, Chamisal, a then dormant vineyard, was replanted with six clones of Pinot Noir and five clones of Chardonnay on a total of 60 acres. Subsequently, an additional Chardonnay clone was added, followed by four clones of Syrah planted on an additional 14 acres. In 2000, Grenache and Pinot Gris were introduced into Chamisal and an additional 8 acres of Pinot Noir were planted. The original Chamisal clone of Chardonnay has also been reintroduced into this historic vineyard.
An innovative fellow, Terry Speizer is a consummate perfectionist and a great Pinot Noir winemaker. And as is the case with most exceptional winemakers, Speizer’s philosophy is quite simple. “The grapes are the soul of our wine,” Speizer states emphatically. “If we do an exceptional job on the soul, then all we have to do is give it heart.” And what a heart Speizer has put into each of the six vintages he has released to date, beginning with the winery’s inaugural 1998 vintage. The Tin Man and all other inhabitants of Oz would be proud.