★★★★ Excellent - Restaurant Wine
Rich and supple in style, this is a distinctly flavored Pinotage (plum jam, cooked meat, rhubarb, herbs), with overtones of vanilla, toast, and oak. Very long finish. Excellent.
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.
2010 began with a cold and rainy January and February. We began pruning in the middle of February as we try to start as late as possible to delay bud break until the weather at the coast warms up. There were record-breaking low temperatures during spring that led to a late bud break all over California. Ours was even later and took place during warm and stable weather leading to an excellent berry set. Summer was the second coldest in 50 years in Sonoma County. After this cool summer there was an intense heat spike in August. Fortunately our proximity to the ocean minimized the effects of the extreme cold and heat. We anxiously waited through very unstable weather while the flavors developed and began harvest on September 28th. The last grapes were picked on November 2 – and that afternoon the torrential rains began.
Pinotage was first developed in South Africa in 1925 by crossing the two vinifera varieties, Pinot Noir and Cinsault
that was called Hermitage at the time. Our Pinotage consists of two Fort Ross proprietary clones, MM1 and MM3,
developed at UC Davis from bud wood personally imported by Fort Ross from one of the most select Pinotage
vineyards in South Africa. The grapes for this Pinotage 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 single 5 ton
tank. During fermentation, the wine was pumped over and sparingly punched down, to carefully control the
amount of extraction from the thicker skins in order to produce a well-balanced, ageworthy Pinotage. Shortly
after pressing, the wines were barreled in a combination of new and neutral French oak.
310 cases 750ml