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.
93+ Points - Jeb Dunnuck
The 2019 Pinot Noir Top Of Land comes all from the Fort Ross Vineyard in the Fort Ross-Seaview AVA in the Sonoma Coast. It’s certainly a more serious effort, with tight, focused aromas and flavors of mulberries and crunchy cherry fruit to go with notes of sappy herbs, crushed stone, and flowers. Beautifully focused, with notable precision and purity as well as solid mid-palate depth, this beauty will benefit from another year or two of bottle age and should see its tenth birthday in fine form. This is another classy, classic, elegantly styled Pinot Noir from this estate that has loads of character.
92 Points - Wine Enthusiast
★★★★+ Restaurant Wine, Ronn Wiegand MS/MW
The Top of Land comes from vineyard parcels that are the highest at the estate. It is an elegant wine: full bodied, finely flavored (cherry, rose petal, cranberry, black tea, oak), well balanced, and long and vibrant on the finish. Excellent; warrants another year or two of aging.
The grapes for this cuvée are sourced from several of the lowest yielding blocks located at the highest elevations of the Fort RossVineyard.This deep garnet hued wine shows great complexity with savory characteristics and a purity of Pinot Noir fruit characteristics. Soaring aromas of raspberries, currants and dried rose petals are accented by the slightest hint of sandalwood. Lush layers of mulberry, black raspberry and Bing cherry are supported by soft feminine tannins.The Fort RossVineyard signature minerality and fresh acidity integrates seamlessly with the captivating fruit throughout the endless finish.
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: Pommard & Swan
The grapes for this Pinot Noir come from the blocks that are planted at the highest elevations in the vineyard.They are 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 40% new and 60% neutral French oak.Throughout the 11 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.
216 cases produced