93 Points - James Suckling
Super nose of leather, chili, shiitake mushroom, and berries. Full-bodied, with wonderfully focused tannins and spices. So refined and pretty. Gorgeous.
90 Points - Wine Advocate, Robert Parker
The deep ruby-colored 2009 Pinot Noir reveals an outstanding bouquet of loamy soil, underbrush, red and black cherries, and a hint of oak as well as a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel and a velvety texture. Drink this sexy Pinot over the next 5-6 years. These are impressive offerings from Fort Ross. -Robert Parker, December 2013.
90 Points - Connoisseurs' Guide
Despite being located within splashing distance of the Pacific, the vineyards at Fort Ross sit high enough up in the coastal hills that they are able to give off wines that are both ripe and balanced. Here, the black cherry nature of the fruit is filled out by invitingly spicy nuances and hints of dried flowers. February 2012.
★★★★ EXCELLENT - Restaurant Wine, Ronn Wiegand MW/MS
Subtle, elegant... fleshy and ripely flavored; a well balanced wine with red currant, plum, kola nut, toast, and spicy oak aromas/flavors. Medium long, lightly tannic finish. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 30% new.
From our mountain vineyard on the “True Sonoma Coast”, Fort Ross Vineyard & Winery produces limited quantities of single vineyard, Estate grown, cool-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinotage. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean less than one mile away, the vineyard is divided into 30 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.
2009 was an excellent year for the early ripening Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on the Sonoma Coast. The year began with a warm January but soon turned cold. The year was generally cooler than usual throughout the major part of the growing season and this coolness gave the wines their vibrant character. In the 3rd week of September there was a heat spike that concentrated the flavors that had been teasingly on the verge. The entire vineyard was harvested in four exhausting days to capitalize on the even ripening, intense flavors and luscious fruit. All grapes were harvested and in barrel before the damaging rains of October.
Jeff Pisoni. 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 30% new and 70% 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 unfined and unfiltered.
CASES PRODUCED: 1438 cases