93 Points - Wine Advocate, Robert Parker
The rich, meaty, dense, multi-dimensional 2010 Pinot Noir Symposium tastes like a grand cru from the Cote de Nuits. Notes of forest floor, black currants, black cherries and smoky tobacco leaf are followed by a wine with beautiful fruit and a silky texture. Consume it over the next 5-7 years. These are impressive offerings from Fort Ross. - Robert Parker
Vivid aromas of dark fruit with tiers of dusty cedar, cardamom and black tea notes introduce this firm, focused, intense Pinot Noir. The 4% of Pinotage adds layers of sandalwood and earthy bramble to the concentrated core of dark berry, wild berry and black plum. There is purity to the finish where the vineyard’s signature minerality and acidity accompany the expansive fruit with great finesse.
From our mountain vineyard, now part of the new Fort Ross-Seaview American Viticultural Area that includes the few steep mountain top vineyards that overlook the Sonoma Coast, 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.
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 24% new and 76% 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.