2010 PINOT NOIR: BICENTENNIAL BOTTLING. Fort Ross Vineyard, Fort Ross-Seaview, Sonoma Coast - LIMITED
★★★★ EXCELLENT - RESTAURANT WINE
91 Points - JAMES SUCKLING
Limited Commemorative Bottling of 2010 Pinot Noir celebrating the Bicentennial of Fort Ross.
Fort Ross Vineyard was selected to produce a special Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to commemorate the 1812 – 2012 Bicentennial of the old Russian Settlement of Fort Ross on the Sonoma Coast. This was the site of the first grape plantings in all of Sonoma County and even fore shaddowed the plantings in Napa County. The winery was given permission from the Kunstkamera of the St. Peter the Great Museum in St. Petersburg to use the painting of the old fort done in 1841 by the famous naturalist, Il'ya Vosnesenky. The President of the Russian Federation is expected to attend thecelebrations that will be both at the old Fort and at the Fort Ross Vineyard tasting room.
Cases Produced: 199
★★★★ EXCELLENT - RESTAURANT WINE
Subtle and elegant... The Bicentennial (celebrating the founding of Fort Ross in 1812) is a bit more floral in character and also more complex. It is full bodied, moderately rich, and well balanced, with a persistent finish, tasting of rosehips, strawberry, red currant, plum, toast, and orange. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. 199 cases.
91 POINTS - JAMES SUCKLING
A red with rich aromas of strawberries and cranberries showing some fresh mushrooms. Palate has some preserves and a long, big finish. This is a full-bodied wine showing nicely balanced acidity.
Throughout October 2010
10 months in 100% French; 40% new
August 1, 2011
From our mountain vineyard, now part of the new Fort Ross-Seaview American Viticultural Area that includes the few steep mountain top vineyards that overlook the Sonoma Coast, Fort Ross Vineyard & Winery produces limited quantities of single vineyard, Estate grown, cool-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinotage. With spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean less than one mile away, the vineyard is divided into 30 separate blocks, one-half to two acres in size, that rapidly fall from 1700 down to 1200 feet above sea level. Owners, Lester and Linda Schwartz and their small crew began preparing the 50 acre vineyard in 1994. It took them 4 years of preparation before they could begin planting the first vines in 1998.
2010 began with a cold and rainy January and February. We began pruning in the middle of February as we try to start as late as possible to delay bud break until the weather at the coast warms up. There were record-breaking low temperatures during spring that led to a late bud break all over California. Ours was even later and took place during warm and stable weather leading to an excellent berry set. Summer was the second coldest in 50 years in Sonoma County. After this cool summer there was an intense heat spike in August. Fortunately our proximity to the ocean minimized the effects of the extreme cold and heat. We anxiously waited through very unstable weather while the flavors developed and began harvest on September 28th. The last grapes were picked on November 2 – and that afternoon the torrential rains began.
The grapes for this Pinot Noir were handpicked during the cool hours of the night in 5 gallon buckets. After hand sorting, the fruit was cold soaked for several days and fermented in a combination of 5 and 10 ton tanks. The caps were punched down 1 or 2 times per day, depending on the stage of the fermentation. The wines were then barreled in a combination of 40% new and 60% neutral French oak. Throughout the 10 months of barrel aging, the clones and different vineyard blocks were kept separate to maintain their distinct flavor profiles and structural components as blending elements.