Our Sea Slopes Pinot Noir is blended for earlier release and is ready to enjoy sooner than our other Fort Ross Vineyard Pinot Noirs. This expressive ruby hued Pinot Noir has black cherry and wild berry aromas that are elegantly balanced by notes of forest floor and cedar. Generous black raspberry and mulberry with hints of baking spices evolve on the palate finishing with silky tannins and the signature minerality of the Fort Ross Vineyard’s coastal terrior.
91 Points, Wine Enthusiast
You’ll find deliciously ripe raspberry and cherry flavors in this wine, making it instantly appealing. Yet it’s so bright with acidity, and so deeply complex with earthy, mushroomy notes, it’s sure to gain some traction in the cellar over the next few years. You can drink it now if you want, but give it an hour or so in a decanter. —S.H.
Our Sea Slopes Pinot Noir is blended for earlier release and is ready to enjoy sooner than our other Fort Ross
Vineyard Pinot Noirs. This expressive ruby hued Pinot Noir has black cherry and wild berry aromas that are
elegantly balanced by notes of forest floor and cedar. Generous black raspberry and mulberry with hints of baking
spices evolve on the palate finishing with silky tannins and the signature minerality of the Fort Ross Vineyard’s
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.
On the Sonoma Coast we are used to dripping coastal fog and winter rains of up to 125” a year. The growing cycle
generally starts late in this cool, maritime climate but the 2011 spring was unusually cold and wet. The vineyard
remained dorment until May when the days suddenly grew hot and the vines burst into action three months later than
usual. In June, during bloom, the clusters were well positioned on the vines. Then it rained once more resulting in far
less cluster development than expected. During the cool summer the grapes did increase their pace to make up for lost
time and miraculously developed vibrant flavors at far lower degrees Brix. With some hot weather the sugar levels did
increase but still remained far lower than in previous vintages. Unexpected early fall rain, followed by thick fog, caused
many vineyards to pick their crop before optimal ripeness. All around Sonoma County were horror stories of rot
raging through the vineyards and grapes being picked at 19° Brix. Each of our blocks were left to ripen as long as the
grapes remained healthy and made significant gains in flavor. Finally most of of the vineyard was picked at about 22°
Brix which converts into wine of approximately 13% alcohol. It was going to be a vintage of low alcohol levels. We
were fortunate that the wild Sonoma Coast gave us another unexpected gift - time to wait patiently before harvest.
The grapes for this Pinot Noir were handpicked during the cool hours of the night in 2 gallon trays. 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
20% new and 80% neutral French oak. Throughout the 10 months of barrel aging, the clones and different vineyard lots
were kept separate to maintain their distinct flavor profiles and structural components as blending elements.
SELECTIONS: Calera, Pommard, Swan & Dijon clones 115 & 777