94 Points - The Wine Advocate
Pale to medium ruby in the glass, the 2016 Pinot Noir The Terraces has a core of dark fruits with tons of earthy and bitters accents: moss-covered bark, amaro, bitter peel, dust and bitter chocolate. Light to medium bodied, it has a great concentration of spicy black fruits in the mouth with those lovely bitter accents, framed by firm, grainy tannins and good freshness to lift the dense finish.
93 Points - The Wine Enthusiast
Complex, savory and full of tension, this acid-driven, cool-climate wine is remarkably memorable and well structured—a study in rhubarb, cranberry and dried herb. Light and elegant, it unwinds slowly with intrigue in the glass, offering a length of exotic spice.
92 Points - James Suckling
Violet extraction, brambleberry compote, earth, tobacco and vanilla. Full body, round tannins, some good acidity and a chewy, medium-long finish. Drink in 2021.
92 Points - Jeb Dennuck
Aged 10 months in 40% new French oak and a block selection from the estate vineyard, the 2016 Pinot Noir The Terraces offers a forward, charming, sweetly fruited profile that includes lots of red and black fruits, spice, and underbrush aromas, medium body, supple tannins, and outstanding length. Drink it over the coming 7-8 years.
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 nearly opaque garnet hue immediately reveals the depth of the 2016 vintage. Complex aromas of black plum, boysenberry and cassis are accented by hints of lavender and sandalwood. On the palate, focused black cherry and blackberry fruit layers are grounded by earthy notes. This generous wine has an alluring velvety mouth-feel with supple, harmoniously integrated tannins. The Terraces is showing beautifully now and will certainly continue to develop gracefully through its’ 10th anniversary and beyond.
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 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.
CASES 142 • WINEMAKER: Jeff Pisoni • SELECTION: Calera Clone