Fort Ross Vineyard was selected to produce a special Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to commemorate the 1812 – 2012 Bicentennial of the old Russian Settlement of Fort Ross on the Sonoma Coast. This was the site of the first grape plantings in all of Sonoma County and even foreshadowed the plantings in Napa County. The winery was given permission from the Kunstkamera of the St. Peter the Great Museum in St. Petersburg to use the painting of the old fort done in 1841 by the famous naturalist, Il'ya Vosnesenky.
Medium ruby in color, our 2018 Bicentennial Pinot Noir evolves from the glass with floral and slight savory notes of red roses, dried orange peel, and Darjeeling tea, over a core of pomegranate, raspberry and cranberry aromas. The medium-bodied palate is layered with red fruits including, wild strawberries and red plums complemented by a hint of baking spices and rhubarb, framed by finely constructed elegant tannins then completed with a lingering finish.
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
The grapes for this Pinot Noir were handpicked during the cool hours of the night in two-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 20% new and 80% neutral French oak. Throughout the ten 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.
WINEMAKER: Jeff Pisoni
CLONAL SELECTION: Dijon 115