“Queen of the Vineyards” – Theodora Lee of Theopolis Vineyards

“Queen of the Vineyards” – Theodora Lee of Theopolis Vineyards

The name Theopolis is associated with a high priest from the Bible referenced in the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. And in my case, it’s also associated with the name of one of my high school classmates. Theo, who is an accomplished musician, is the only person that I know who has a name that evokes images of Greek antiquities.

Fast forward to 2017 and during my 2nd Wine Blogger’s Conference, I was presented with a rich Petit Sirah produced by Theodora Lee of Theopolis Vineyards (www.theopolisvineyards.com). Theodora is a dynamic African American winemaker who bottles bottling a high-quality wine grown where grape growing and production take place in her Anderson valley facility.

Today as we begin to re-emerge from the pandemic, we embrace the proliferation of Zoom virtual wine tastings. A Pinot Noir event advertised on my IG timeline in April caught my attention. You can only imagine the large number of Zoom wine tastings that vie for the attention of wine writers and the public during this time of careful quarantining. This particular wine talk interested me for a few reasons: 1) Frank Morgan is an excellent moderator, 2) the geographic variety of Pinot Noir grape growers in the U.S. and 3) Theodora Lee was one of the 4 featured wine producers.

#Pinotchat hosted by Frank Morgan featuring Theodora Lee, Christine Vrooman, Jason Lett and Janie Brooks

Theodora graced the Zoom virtual stage with the 3 other prominent US vineyard owners; Christine Vrooman (Ankida Vineyards), Jason Lett (Eyrie Vineyards) and Janie Brooks (Brooks Winery). Theodora shared her life growing up in a family that embraced owning and working farmland while living during the week in the urban center of North Texas – Dallas. She spent her weekends and summers helping with the farm and riding horses in nearby Ennis. Today she manages a vineyard, a winemaking operation, is a partner in a law firm and she’s a real estate investor. Her focus is on producing excellent Petit Sirah and Pinot Noir wines in her prize-winning vintner’s portfolio.

I ordered a bottle of the Theopolis Wines, 2017 Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir to enjoy during the talk. This Pinot is sourced from the Lost Creek Vineyards in Mendocino County. Mendocino County is one of the northern most wine growing regions in California. Among other things, this region is known for its rugged rolling mountains and coastal views of the Pacific Ocean.

Lost Creek Vineyard and Theopolis Vineyards

Lost Creek in Mendocino is an 8-acre vineyard that grows organically certified Pinot Noir grapes. The area is known for having red loam soil and the grapes grown are of 114 and 115 Dijon variety.

PositiveVines Notes: 114 and 115 Dijon are clone classifications for grapes that have been propagated from a single plant. With over 200 total clones these are some of the oldest ones producing darker fruit flavors.

The 2017 Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir exhibits a beautiful clear ruby red color of medium intensity. Think of a ruby red ring with light shimmering off of it as it’s viewed from multiple angles in the glass. The nose has a bright cherry aroma with florals, damp leaves and hints of spice woven in. The palate is medium bodied with dark cherry, vanilla, cloves and mushrooms playing together in the glass. Medium tannins round off this Pinot Noir. The Yorkville Highlands offering was aged in French Oak with 25% of that new for 11 months and bottled unfiltered.

The retail price is $42 which lands it as a solid value for a high-quality Pinot. Pinot Noir grapes are generally more expensive to grow due to the complexities in cultivating each harvest.

Theopolis Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir

Alcohol 12.0%, price $42, pairing: salmon, tuna, roasted chicken, mixed vegetables

Pinot Noir grapes are believed to be 1000 years older than its fuller bodied relative Cabernet Sauvignon. Pinot Noir is a very popular red because of its lighter, yet complex characteristics. Theopolis Vineyards’ 2017 Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir is a PositiveVines recommendation to enjoy for sipping, snacking and dinner pairings. 

Remember to drink
what it is that makes you truly happy and always think positively!

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@blackwinelovers @theopolisv @winemendocino