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 - Jeb Dunnuck
Lots of sous bois, sappy herbs, green flowers, and assorted red and slightly darker berry fruits emerge from the 2019 Pinot Noir Fort Ross Vineyard. A medium-bodied, nicely concentrated, balanced Pinot, this is one of the richer, more concentrated wines in the lineup. I like it today, yet I suspect it will develop additional complexity with another year or two of bottle age, and it should have a long life of 10-12 years, if not more.
"9 Stellar West Coast Pinot Noirs to Drink Right Now" - The Robb Report
For this Pinot Noir winemaker Jeff Pisoni chooses grapes grown in single vineyards less than one mile from the Pacific Ocean. His Fort Ross Vineyard Pinot Noir has aromas and flavors of red cherry and cranberry with a touch of Oolong tea and brown baking spices in the back palate. It has rich mouthfeel with silky tannins and a smooth finish.
A classic representation of this legendary varietal, the 2019 Fort Ross Vineyard Pinot Noir possesses a medium ruby core that shimmers as it is swirled in the glass. Notes of spiced Santa Rosa plum, Bing cherry, and strawberry compote mingle with savory notes of baking spice. Expressive in every aspect, this Pinot Noir truly represents the incredible diversity contained within our 52 acre coastal vineyard. Red cherry, rhubarb, and dried cranberry contribute to a luscious front palate, while sage and dried herb notes add subtle complexity.This plush effort finishes with soft,velvety tannin and a pillar of bright acidity.A wine that will drink beautifully in its youth,but will also reward patience.
2019 was a very curious year. Early in the season the vineyard received a light sprinkling of snow, followed by some frost - which is most surprising at the altitude of the vineyard [1,200 ft – 1,700 ft]; and our location, less than a mile from the Pacific Ocean. For the last 20 years of viticulture, we have had no need for frost protection.We waited to see what kind of crop would develop and are pleased to announce that buds popped out and we even needed to drop a significant amount of fruit. Later in the season we had a brief heat wave reaching over 100 degrees! As we pick at night, we still have cool grapes to start winemaking. Then just as harvest was ending, we experienced howling 60 mile an hour winds that even blew open locked doors.The 2019 modest crop has produced wines with a luscious mouthfeel, an elegant, restrained acid profile and a satisfying balance. Pinot Noir was unhurriedly harvested between September 16 – October 7, Chardonnay was picked September 19 – October 7, and finally the slower ripening Pinotage on October 8th.
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 11 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.
865 cases produced, Winemaker: Jeff Pisoni