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.
91 Points - Wine Advocate, April 2018
"Pale to medium ruby-purple in color, the 2015 Pinot Noir The Terraces opens with warm black cherries, mulberries and red plum notes with touches of lavender and Provence herbs. Light to medium-bodied with a refreshing backbone lifting the perfumed black berry flavors, it has a fine-grained frame and earthy finish. 120 cases produced." -Lisa Perotti-Brown
Excellent - Dan Berger, June 2018
A younger version of the above wine with a bit more spice and personality. The smaller blocks that are terraced here have some distinctive clones and make a perfectly balanced wine that has huge potential for 6-10 years. Decanting (2-3 hours) helps expand the fruit and indicates how superb the balance is.
This is a pure expression of a single clone from a unique terraced block that captures the essence and
character of the Calera Clone. The dark ruby hue reveals the depth and complexity of this wine. Vibrant aromas of raspberry, red currant and strawberry are framed by hints of green tea and perfumed rose petals. Intense, luxurious pure fruit driven layers of black raspberry, boysenberry, cassis and plum entice the palate. Boldly structured tannins evolve into the captivating velvety texture that lingers throughout the long, finessed finish. This multi-dimensional, powerful, Pinot Noir with its high acidity is certain to age gracefully 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 Terraces is crafted from 100% Calera clone planted on our single unique Terraced Block #11.
Comprised of rocky Hugo Boomer sandy loam soils, this block was painstakingly carved out of the rugged hillside that faces the cool Pacific. With its steep South West aspect this may be one of the most extreme plantings on the Sonoma Coast. 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. Fermentation occurred with native yeast in 5 and 10-ton stainless steel 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 40% new and 60% neutral French oak.