When this wine was made, the Anderson Valley did not have the Pinot prestige that it has today, but winemaker Jim Clendenen (of Au Bon Climat) knows how to ferret out high quality Pinot Noir grapes. Mary Elke's vineyards near Donnelly Creek have some of the best.
The color is medium light and has turned only slightly. Smells are gorgeous--strawberry and rhubarb boiling over on the pie tin. And the flavors are even better. Sleek body with red berry fruit that is so ripe but also so tart and racy. Amazing freshness on the finish for a 17-year-old wine.
The Elke vines were somewhat young in 1997; they must be coming into their own by now. And the winery reports that the 2013 vintage was exceptional, even for the lower-priced Boonville Barter. I was a buyer but have stashed them away and am not going to think about them for the next 5 to 10 years. If they are better than this 1997 (and I expect them to be), OH WOW!