95 Points - Wine Advocate
"Pale to medium ruby, the 2016 Pinot Noir Stagecoach Road has singular aromas of spiced cranberry sauce and red berry preserves, juicy and dense, with accents of tangerine peel, bitter chocolate, moss-covered bark and laurel—a broody nose but wonderfully lifted by those bright red fruits. Light to medium-bodied, it's very silky in the mouth with layers of fruit, spice and earth, lifted by mouthwatering acidity and framed by firm, grainy tannins, finishing long and flavorful. 140 cases were made.”- Lisa Perrotti-Brown
2016 was another year of drought throughout California. Fortunately, Fort Ross Vineyard was not affected as the early December rainfall was sufficient to fill our irrigation ponds to capacity and even allowed us to have water at the end harvest. The ideal moderate weather on the coast leading up to harvest was free of heatwaves and rain, allowing the grapes to mature slowly and evenly to reach their optimal development. The Pinot Noir was unhurriedly harvested between September 3 — 20, one of the many advantages of growing grapes overlooking the cool Pacific Ocean. Chardonnay was picked September 17 — 26 and finally the slower ripening Pinotage on September 23 — 28. Our new block of Chardonnay, just off Meyers Grade Road had its first harvest in 2016 and the fruit is showing great promise. The lasting memory of the harvest is a vision of perfect bunches of grapes, with no side wings to delay the ripening, even berry size and a balanced crop hanging on the vines. These wines are vibrant and aromatic with excellent acidity.
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 50% new and 50% 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.