Aromas of dark ripe berries and black tea with a hint of sweet roses elegantly introduce black cherry, raspberry and delicate traces of spice to the palate. The rich flavors and velvety texture of this unfiltered Pinot Noir are balanced by finely structured tannins. Limited Production : 344 cases.
94 Points - Wine Enthusiast
A very beautiful wine that shows the exotic, feral quality of the greatest Pinot Noirs from the Fort Ross area. It’s explosive in wild raspberry and cherry flavors, with hints of pine, cola, wintergreen, anise, bacon and smoky, sweet vanillins from oak barrels. A wine of great pedigree, it’s showing well now, and should hold for the next six years. —S.H. October 2011.
91 Points, 2 Stars - Connoisseurs' Guide
Although the richest of the several Fort Ross Pinots reviewed in this month's issue, the 2007 Reserve is also the most mannerly and refined of the bunch as well. Its inviting cherry and pastry-crust smells are followed up with like-minded flavors that show a certain measured refinement, and its extra time in the bottle is in part responsible for its polish. It makes for thoroughly satisfying drinking right now, but it still has room left for a bit of additional growth. February 2012.
90 Points - Wine Spectator
Offers deep, complex, focused plum, mineral and black cherry fruit that's supple and delicate. Full-bodied, ending with a subtle mix of flavors laced with sassafras. Drink now through 2016. 344 cases made. –JL, October 2011.
Dense and garnet in hue, this full-bodied Pinot Noir entices with aromas of black currants and orange pekoe tea, framed by touches of earthy mushroom, and cola. The elegant aromatics lead to a complex palate defined by black raspberry, boysenberry and bramble berries, with hints of subtle citrus and a dash of winter spices. Refined, supple tannins and the Fort Ross Vineyard signature minerality are revealed through the layered, velvety finish. While this wine deserves to be decanted, it truly develops in the glass.
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 destemmed and 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% used 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. The wine was bottled unfiltered.
2007 was a long, cool growing season, providing the ideal conditions for berry development. Our proximity to the ocean and its cooling effects saved us from a heat spike that affected inland areas much more severely. All Pinot Noir blocks were picked mid-September through the beginning of October, based on optimal physiological ripeness. The vines were balanced, the yields were small, and the concentration of flavor was excellent this year.