Sea Slopes Pinot Noir is inspired by the majestic Sonoma Coast and the steep rugged ridges perched at the golden edge of the continent. Here, the cool maritime climate produces fruit of exceptional quality and allows us to craft wines of great elegance and purity.
93 Points, Buying Guide: Year’s Best Pinot Noirs - Wine & Spirits, April 2018
This is a new project focusing on more affordable wines from Fort Ross Vineyards, where Jeff Pisoni makes the wines for Lester and Linda Schwartz, a South African couple who planted the vineyard in 1994. An earthy, coastal pinot, this has an elastic tension to the structure that reminded some of our tasters of certain Williams Selyem wines from the far coast. It's black and bitter when first opened, needing air for the tannins to recede and for the refined, fresh flavors to come to the fore. The tannins continue to give it shape and enhance its power; this is a wine to cellar for a few years, or to decant for grille duck breast.
94 Points, Editors’ Choice - Wine Enthusiast, October 2017
This wine offers astounding quality for the price, a juicy expression of fruit and spice with a depth of firm resolved tannin, lively acidity and layers of black cherry and cola. Approachable and delicious, it hits the mark on every level being light bodied and refreshingly balanced while complex.—V.B
This deep garnet hued Pinot Noir entices with black cherry and red berry aromas that are elegantly balanced by an undercurrent of dried orange peel. Generous black plum, bramble berry and raspberry with hints of black tea and spice evolve on the palate finishing with velvery tannins and the bright acidity that expresses
our coastal terroir.
The 2015 growing season began with early bud break followed by relatively warm temperatures until May, when the temperature suddenly dropped, slowing flowering and limiting the crop yield. After bloom the temperate weather allowed the grapes to ripen slowly until they were unhurriedly harvested between mid-August and mid-September. The lower yields delivered fruit that produced exceptional wine that is layered, focused and shows a gracious purity.
The grapes for this Pinot Noir were handpicked during the cool early morning hours. After hand sorting, the fruit was cold soaked for several days. Fermentation occurred in a combination of 5 and 10 ton stainless steel tanks after which the wine was barreled into a combination of 30% new and 70% neutral French oak.
During fermentation both punch down and pump-over maceration techniques were used to achieve a balanced extraction of flavor, color and aromatic compounds. Once in barrels, time allowed the wine to seamlessly integrate the natural acidity, rich flavors and soft tannins into a perfectly balanced and perfumed Pinot Noir.
793 cases produced