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.
90 Points - Jeb Dunnuck
A deep youthful ruby with a purple tinge, the 2021 Pinot Noir The Terraces Fort Ross Vineyard is another spicy wine from this estate, with ripe red cherry, toasted baking spice, and beet root. This medium bodied red is tangy and tart on the palate, with crunchy cranberry, orange zest, and dark, turned earth. It has an angular feel, with lingering notes of incense, and is tightly wound, with a bit of greenness on the finish. Drink it over the next several years.
Our 2021 The Terraces Pinot Noir represents a pure expression of the Calera clone. On the nose, brambly black and red berries mingle with subtle hints of spiced plum and sandalwood. Showcasing captivating complexity and an embracing mouthfeel, this Pinot Noir offers a richly woven display of black cherry, raspberry, and baked rhubarb, while notes of black tea, sous bois, and dried orange peel add distinct elegance. In its youth, this wine possesses lively acidity that is backed by a firm, yet after time in the glass, approachable structure. Its 15 months in 50% new French oak provide additional texture to a wine that is destined for a long life in bottle.
Like the rest of Sonoma County, we experienced lower than average rainfall signaling another drier vintage. The 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 the vineyard rows by our dedicated team was needed to balance fruit and vine growth. Moderate temperatures, between 80-85°, persisted throughout the summer with no heatwaves. Harvest arrived under near perfect conditions, allowing for methodical night hand picking at the ideal phenolic ripeness. The 3-week harvest began with our Pinot Noir blocks from August 30th - September 6th, Chardonnay from September 9th – 11th, our first harvest of Chenin Blanc on September 13th, and lastly our signature, 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 Terraces is crafted from 100% Calera clone planted on our single unique Terraced Block #11. Comprised of rocky Hugo Boomer sandy loam soils, this block was painstakingly carved out of the rugged hillside that faces the cool Pacific Ocean. With its steep South West aspect this may be one of the most extreme plantings on the Sonoma Coast. 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. Fermentation occurred with native yeast in 5 and 10-ton stainless steel 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.
Bottled Unfined & Unfiltered