Head High Wines is a new offshoot label from Bill Price of Price Family Vineyards, best known for his ownership of the Three Sticks brand. (Though note, this is not a second label from Three Sticks and is a wholly separate project.) The budget-focused brand takes its name from surfing slang, where “head high” refers to the perfect sized wave – one that builds to the height of a rider’s head.
Two wines are available at launch, a chardonnay and a pinot noir. We tried them both. Thoughts follow.
2020 Head High Chardonnay Sonoma County – Creamy and fruity, with a bold citrus note that one doesn’t often see in California chardonnay. There’s a slight layer of buttery vanilla here, but it’s subtle and restrained, letting notes of fresh lemon, green apple, and some tangerine do the heavy lifting. While nicely creamy on the palate, there’s ample acidity to perk things up. A- / $20
2019 Head High Pinot Noir Sonoma County – Surprisingly bright, this Sonoma pinot initially runs more toward strawberry notes than cherry, with a subtle layer of graphite and licorice underneath the effusive fruit. The darker cherry notes, along with some blackberry, come into focus on the lengthy finish, which offers a grippy, slightly meaty character. There’s more going on which this wine than first meets the eye, and it’s an exceptional value at this price. (Update 12/2021 – Tasted this vintage again and found it blown out by that beefy character, its fruit distinctly tamped down. I’d temper this rating accordingly.) A- / $20