[pullquote]Because we make our Pinots from just five small blocks, production is small. That said, we love new members and encourage collectors to join our mailing list. I personally set up members with allocations when they become available. Typically, I can get a small allocation out to them from the outset (two to four bottles) and then can make a full allocation available during the following year’s vintage release. We release our three single block Pinots one time a year in the early spring, and, if we make a fourth Pinot (we don’t always), we typically offer allocations in the fall/winter. – Brooke Gadke[/pullquote]
You will learn precious little about Maggy Hawk from their website. In order to buy their wine you must join their “Collector” group. E-mail Brooke Gadke to be added to this list. (See Brooke’s instructions in the right margin.) This places Maggy Hawk squarely in the cult winery category. But, as we learned, there’s a trick to gathering information.
WindRacer Winery is owned by Barbara Banke and Peggy Furth. Ms. Banke is the sole proprietor of Maggy Hawk, while Ms. Gadke is the estate manager. These two are an interesting pair. Ms. Banke prefers grapes from Anderson Valley while Ms. Furth likes Russian River Valley fruit. Each is represented in WindRacer offerings. Maggy Hawk offers three or four pinot noirs from their Anderson Valley vineyards. (Click the map below for a larger image.)
Norma has a saying about wine: “Money, story, and marketing.”™ Maggy Hawk offers money, story, marketing and great wine. But you need to move fast. Total annual production is 1,000 cases or less. At that level, we’re unsure about whether the wine is cult wine or boutique wine. But we suspect that distinction doesn’t matter much.
The 2011 Jolie “The Pretty One” ($66, clone 115, 242 cases) is from an Anderson Valley vineyard facing southeast in the central part of the valley. The style is lighter, with floral aromas and light on the palate. The floral aromas have hints of tea leaves, with a bit of wild strawberry. The palate features flavors of nutmeg, fresh blueberry, and pomegranate.
The 2011 Unforgettable “The Challenge” ($66, clone 667, 196 cases) is from north end of Anderson Valley, a vineyard with a steep slope and low yield. As we expected, this wine is darker and more intense. The aroma is complex, opening with black cherry, followed by dark chocolate. On the palate flavors of huckleberry, cinnamon and licorice with intimations of leather and earth.
Maggy Hawk is the name of Ms. Banke’s favorite racehorse. Maggy Hawk’s sire, Hawkster, is the name of one of her pinots. Hawkster is made exclusively from pinot clone 2a (justifiably famous as we discovered a few years ago when we sampled clone 2a pinots at Cambria and Laetitia.) In fact, all four Maggy Hawk wines – Jolie, Afleet, Unforgettable, and Hawkster — are named after racehorses.
Ms. Banke is a familiar name in Sonoma wines. Married to Jess Jackson, she became the sole proprietor of Jackson Family Wines (JFW) when Mr. Jackson passed away in 2011. (The best-known label of JFW is the iconic Kendall-Jackson brand.) She was named the 2013 Wine Person of the Year by Wine Enthusiast. In her spare time (what spare time?) she is the estate manager at Maggy Hawk and helps out with WindRacer. Our only question is, “When does she sleep?”
And Special Thanks
Sorting all this out took a bit of time. But we would never have learned all this if not for the help of two terrific people: Brooke Gadke (wine information) and Kristen Reitzell (media contact). Many thanks to both of them for their time, patience, and invaluable assistance.