2015 Top of Land Pinot Noir
VINTAGE: 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.
WINEMAKING: 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 40% new and 60% neutral French oak. Throughout the 11 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.
TASTING NOTES: Nearly opaque and ruby in color, Top of Land Pinot Noir has both the vibrancy and intensity representative of our 2015 vintage. The grapes for this cuvée are sourced from several of the lowest yielding blocks located at the highest elevations of the Fort Ross Vineyard. Opulent aromatics of black plum and dark raspberry meld together with lychee and violets and just the slightest hint of amber. This is a bold expression of pure Pinot Noir fruit that blends richness and elegance with layers of blackberry, ripe cherry, and black currant. The refined, seamless tannins intertwine with the Fort Ross Vineyard signature minerality revealed through the long velvety finish.
91 Points - Wine Enthusiast
A robust nose of forest and smoky leather give way to a grippy midpalate of tension and tannic structure in this coastal estate wine. Strawberry compote and blueberry flavors are sumptuous and sultry on the palate, becoming velvety smooth within twists of black tea and cardamom. — Virginie Boone