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
The 2021 Pinot Noir Stagecoach Road Fort Ross Vineyard takes on a darker appearance, with a ruby-purple hue and notes of black cherry, forest floor, and licorice. This full-bodied Pinot takes on good balance of richness and freshness, with a spine of acidity, ripe tannins, and broader shoulders. Notes of black raspberry, turned soil, orange oil, and smoky earth come together nicely. Give it another year and drink 2024-2030
Consistently the most intense and pronounced of our Pinot Noir lineup, the 2021 Stagecoach Road is crafted from fruit that is grown in our blocks with the closest proximity to the Pacific Ocean. This seamless blend of Calera, Pommard, and 115 clones espouses aromas of black cherry liqueur, spiced plum, and pomegranate wrapped within shades of crimson and deep ruby. The voluminous and concentrated palate is loaded with waves of black and red currant, raspberry coulis, and baked rhubarb. Added complexity in the form of black tea leaves, dried herbs and roses petals, with a touch of baking spice keep the bold profile in fine balance. Fresh acidity maintained by the cooling gusts of coastal sea air works in lock-step with chalky, well integrated tannin to provide a long and distinguished finish, as well as an assurance that this wine will continue to please well into the next decade.
Our high elevation vineyard [1,200 ft – 1,700 ft] just 1 mile above the Pacific Ocean, benefits greatly from the cooling influences of this rugged coastline.All of Sonoma County experienced lower than average rainfall signaling the start of another drier vintage.These parched soils came with a silver lining, as the roots were forced to dig deep in search of water and nutrients to sustain growth—which also brought great concentration of flavor. Early March budbreak was followed by slow, steady canopy development and fruit set. Many passes through our rows by our dedicated vineyard team balanced the fruit and vine growth, but less canopy work was required due to the low vigor of the vines. Moderate temperatures, between 80-85°, persisted throughout the summer with no heatwaves. Harvest arrived under near perfect conditions, allowing for night hand picking at the ideal phenolic ripeness.The 3-week harvest began with Pinot Noir from August 30th - September 6th, Chardonnay from September 9th – 11th, and our first harvest of Chenin Blanc on September 13th, lastly our, slower ripening Pinotage on September 17th.The wines produced from this noteworthy vintage will be regarded for their intense concentration of color and flavor, as well as an undeniable density that will continue to evolve for years to come.
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 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 50% new and 50% neutral French oak.Throughout the 15 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.These grapes are sourced from specific blocks where the old stagecoach road used to run though our vineyard and where Black Bart the famous “Gentleman Bandit” Highwayman robbed the Wells Fargo Stagecoach in 1877.
Calera, Pommard, Dijon 115 Clones, bottled unfined and unfiltered