From our mountain vineyard that overlooks the Sonoma Coast in the 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 32 separate blocks, one-half to two acres in size, that range in elevation from 1700 down to 1200 feet above sea level. Owners, Lester and Linda Schwartz with their small crew began preparing the 52 acre vineyard in 1994. It took them 4 years of preparation before they could begin planting. The year 2000 marked the first vintage from the Fort Ross Vineyard.
93 Points - Wine Advocate, April 2018
"Pale to medium ruby-purple in color, the 2015 Pinot Noir Stagecoach Road opens with fragrant notes of violets and rose hips with a core of red and black cherries, stewed rhubarb and underbrush plus a waft of wild thyme. Medium bodied with great intensity and a firm backbone of finely grained tannins and wonderful freshness, it finishes on a compelling minerally note. 121 cases were made." -Lisa Perrotti-Brown
Robb Report, May 2018
“He admits that with the short growing season here, there’s a certain challenge in getting just the balance he wants out of the grapes’ ripeness, but his 2015 Stagecoach Road Pinot Noir offers delicious proof that it can be done. Remarkably dark and powerful, the wine combines spicy black cherry, earthy forest floor, and silky tannins with bright acidity.” - Sara L. Schneider on May 2018
93 Points - Jeb Dunnuck, June 2018
"More expensive, the 2015 Pinot Noir Stagecoach Fort Ross Vineyard is all Calera clone and spent 10 months in 50% new French oak. It offers a medium ruby, youthful color to go with caramelized currants, tea leaves, dried earth, smoke, and minty aromas and flavors. Its rounded, nicely concentrated, has fine tannin, beautiful elegance and purity, and a great finish. It's the gem of this lineup and is going to drink nicely for upwards of a decade." -Jeb Dunnuck
A decadent nearly opaque garnet hue, Stagecoach Road Pinot Noir grapes are grown in the
vineyard blocks closed to the ocean with some of the darkest soils on the estate. Aromas of black raspberry, black tea and just a touch of forest floor are the prelude to the powerful layers of bramble fruit, black plum, red currant and spice on the palate. The beautifully intergrated refined, velvety tannins show great finesse through the endless finish with a grand finale of mouthwatering acidity. This wine is drinking beautifully now and will cellar for years to come.
Compared to the bountiful harvests of 2012, 2013, 2014 and again in 2016, the 2015 Vintage produced
quite modest yields. Early budbreak was followed by relatively warm temperatures until May, when the temperature suddenly dropped to record breaking levels, which slowed bloom to set, producing variation in berry maturity and yield. The Pinot Noir was unhurriedly harvested between August 17 — September 8, one of the many advantages of growing grapes overlooking the cool Pacific Ocean. Chardonnay was picked September 10 — September 12 and finally the slower ripening Pinotage on September 24th. The lower yields delivered exceptional wines that are layered, focused and showing gracious purity. Ideal acidity levels are prevalent in all the wines, with well-developed tannins and structure for drinking now or for aging.
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 45% new and 55% 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. These grapes are sourced from specific blocks where the old stagecoach road used to run though our vineyard and where Black Bart the famous “Gentleman Bandit” Highwayman robbed the Wells Fargo Stagecoach in 1877.