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2011 Pinot Noir: Sea Slopes

2011 Pinot Noir: Sea Slopes

Fort Ross Vineyard, Fort Ross-Seaview, Sonoma Coast

91 Points, Wine Enthusiast

This expressive ruby hued Pinot Noir has black cherry and wild berry aromas that are elegantly balanced by notes of forest floor and cedar. Generous black raspberry and mulberry with hints of baking spices evolve on the palate.

 

 

Our Sea Slopes Pinot Noir is blended for earlier release and is ready to enjoy sooner than our other Fort Ross Vineyard Pinot Noirs. This expressive ruby hued Pinot Noir has black cherry and wild berry aromas that are elegantly balanced by notes of forest floor and cedar. Generous black raspberry and mulberry with hints of baking spices evolve on the palate finishing with silky tannins and the signature minerality of the Fort Ross Vineyard’s coastal terrior.

91 Points, Wine Enthusiast
You’ll find deliciously ripe raspberry and cherry flavors in this wine, making it instantly appealing. Yet it’s so bright with acidity, and so deeply complex with earthy, mushroomy notes, it’s sure to gain some traction in the cellar over the next few years. You can drink it now if you want, but give it an hour or so in a decanter. —S.H.

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Wine Specs

Vintage 2011
Varietal Pinot Noir
Appellation Fort Ross-Seaview, Sonoma Coast
Vineyard Designation Fort Ross Vineyard
Harvest Date September 24, 2011 - October 2, 2011
Bottling Date August 2012, Unfined & Unfiltered
Alcohol % 13
Wine Enthusiast 91

Wine Profile

Tasting Notes Our Sea Slopes Pinot Noir is blended for earlier release and is ready to enjoy sooner than our other Fort Ross Vineyard Pinot Noirs. This expressive ruby hued Pinot Noir has black cherry and wild berry aromas that are elegantly balanced by notes of forest floor and cedar. Generous black raspberry and mulberry with hints of baking spices evolve on the palate finishing with silky tannins and the signature minerality of the Fort Ross Vineyard’s coastal terrior.
Vineyard Notes From our mountain vineyard that overlooks the Sonoma Coast and now part of the new 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 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.
Production Notes On the Sonoma Coast we are used to dripping 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 dorment 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.
Winemaker Notes 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 20% new and 80% neutral French oak. Throughout the 10 months of barrel aging, the clones and different vineyard lots were kept separate to maintain their distinct flavor profiles and structural components as blending elements.
Other Notes SELECTIONS: Calera, Pommard, Swan & Dijon clones 115 & 777
 

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