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.
94 Points, Year's Best US Pinot Noir (2021) - Wine & Spirits
Jeff Pisoni makes this wine for Lester and Linda Schwartz, at the 52-acre vineyard they planted in the 1990s. The elevations range from 1,200 to 1,700 feet on a ridge one mile from the Pacific, the kind of marginal site that excelled in the long, cool vintage of 2018, a season without heat spikes. The cold of the coast and the warmth of the sun generated a pinot noir with transparent red berry flavors and mineral brilliance to the darker tannins, their edges seeming to glint with facets of fruit complexity, reflecting black currants at the underside of ripeness against the brighter, zesty red-fruit flavor. Delicious now with duck rillettes, this is also suited to cellar time. - Joshua Greene
92 Points - Wine Spectator
Intensely fruity and well-structured, with cherry tart, raspberry and wild plum flavors that are filled with minerally freshness. Lithe finish has hints of licorice and slate. Drink now through 2025. - Kim Marcus
92 Points - Wine Enthusiast
Spicy cherry and pomegranate meet savory forest and black tea in this coastal estate wine, planted at high elevation. Balanced in weight and acidity, it is earthy, complex and nicely structured, with a finishing touch of cardamom and clove. - Virginie Boone, October 2022
★★★★★ - Restaurant Wine, Ronn Wiegand MS/MW
The 2018 Pinot Noir is outstanding: full bodied, intensely flavored (blueberry, raspberry, rose petal, cherry, black tea, white pepper, clove, oak), lightly tannic, and very long on the finish. Warrants further aging. Great value.
Beautifully integrated aromas of raspberry, bing cherry and cranberry meld with earthy spice with a hint of black tea and a whisper of clove. Cherry, raspberry and red plum greet the palate followed by savory details. Fine grained tannins and the Fort Ross Vineyard signature minerality are revealed through the persistent, mouthwatering finish.With vibrant acidity and extraordinary balance this classic coastal Pinot Noir is drinking elegantly and is certain to reward those who are patient enough to give it additional cellar time.
The winter was wet and cool with a brief and unusual warm spell in February that woke up some of the dormant buds.The traditional cold weather resumed but then was interrupted by chilling frost and even snow!There was frost damage to several of our Chardonnay blocks and a some to a few Pinot Noir.This caused crop reduction but did not effect the exceptional quality of the vintage. Spring and summer were notably cool and was in fact one of the coldest summers we’ve seen in several years. The grapes enjoyed a long hang time on the vine and achieved ideal phenolic and aromatic development. Given there were no heat spikes, we were able to harvest slowly with great care and had the luxury to dial in the perfect time to pick.The vine development was so thorough that we incorporated some whole cluster fermentation that adds yet another layer of complexity to our Pinot Noirs. Pinot Noir was unhurriedly harvested between September 10–28, Chardonnay was picked September 26–27 and finally the slower ripening Pinotage on September 29th.
Bottled Unfined & Unfiltered, Clones: Calera, Pommard, Swan & Dijon 115
The grapes for this Pinot Noir were handpicked during the cool hours of the night in small two-gallon picking 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 barreled in a combination of 30% new and 70% neutral French oak.Throughout the 10 months of barrel aging, the clones and different vineyard lots were kept separate to maintain their distinct flavor profiles and structural components as blending elements.
1065 cases produced,
Winemaker: Jeff Pisoni