2011 Pinot Noir
Fort Ross Vineyard, Fort Ross-Seaview, Sonoma Coast
90 Points - Wine Enthusiast
With a beautiful burgundy hue, this terroir-driven Pinot Noir entices with complex aromas of rose petals and bramble berries framed by a touch of forest floor and sassafras. The layered aromatics lead to a complex palate of blackcherry and bramble berries, with hints of subtle citrus and lavender. Silky, supple tannins, balanced acidity and mineral notes complement the focused dark berry fruit and earth that is revealed through the lingering, velvety finish.
90 Points - Wine Enthusiast
Red raspberry is at the core of this crisp, fresh and medium-bodied estate wine, savory in cranberry and tea. Seamless and silky, it finishes tart, a complex example of a cool site and cool vintage crafted by an experienced winemaker, Jeff Pisoni. —V.B.
Fort Ross-Seaview, Sonoma Coast
Fort Ross Vineyard
September 24, 2011 - October 2, 2011
10 months in 100% French; 35%new
August 2012: Unfined & Unfiltered
From our mountain vineyard that overlooks the Sonoma Coast in the Fort Ross-Seaview American Viticultural Area, 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 range in elevation 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 year 2000 marked the first vintage from the Fort Ross Vineyard.
On the Sonoma Coast we are accustomed to coastal fog and winter rains of up to 125” a year. The growing cycle
generally starts late in this cool, maritime climate but the 2011 spring was unusually cold and wet. The vineyard
remained dormant until May when the days suddenly grew hot and the vines burst into action three months later
than usual. In June, during bloom, the clusters were well positioned on the vines. Then it rained once more resulting
in far less cluster development than expected. During the cool summer the grapes did increase their pace to make up
for lost time and miraculously developed vibrant flavors at far lower degrees Brix. With some hot weather the sugar
levels did increase but still remained far lower than in previous vintages. Unexpected early fall rain, followed by thick
fog, caused many vineyards to pick their crop before optimal ripeness. All around Sonoma County were horror
stories of rot raging through the vineyards and grapes being picked at 19° Brix. Each of our blocks were left to ripen
as long as the grapes remained healthy and made significant gains in flavor. Finally most of of the vineyard was
picked at about 22° Brix which converts into wine of approximately 13% alcohol. It was going to be a vintage of
low alcohol levels. We were fortunate that the wild Sonoma Coast gave us another unexpected gift - time to wait
patiently before harvest.
The grapes for this Pinot Noir were handpicked during the cool hours of the night in 2 gallon trays. 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 35% new and 65% 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.
926 cases 750 ml
Calera, Pommard, Swan & Dijon clones 115 & 777