2010 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Always the most challenging, yet the most fun blend to craft. The nose is redolent of blackberries, plums, toffee and crème brûlée. The rich/full tannins accentuate the blackberry/plummy fruits and complement the creamy, silky finish and the concentrated berry/spicy flavors. This wine truly expresses the classic finesse and depth of complexity that you would expect from Russian River Valley pinot noir. A classic Russian River Valley blend comprised of over 95% Estate fruit.
—Winemaker Bob Cabral
Scores & Reviews
|91||Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar||May-June 2012|
The pinot noir for this blend was sourced from our Drake Estate Vineyard and our Williams Selyem Estate Vineyard.
The 2010 vintage produced wines reflective of each individual vineyard site and appellation with concentrated aromas, rich fruit flavors, nicely balanced acidity and supple tannin structure. The hallmark of the 2010 vintage is one of extremes; between cool, early season temperatures and extreme late season heat, wines of tremendous character were made through careful attention to detail.
Above average rainfall in the winter months ended the streak of several average water years and ensured ample soil moisture for early season growth. Bud break initiated in late March and was somewhat delayed due to cool, rainy weather. Unseasonal cold and wet weather persisted into flowering, causing uneven berry set, or millerandage, where each cluster had a mixture of normal sized berries and tiny, shot berries, also referred to as “hens and chicks.” In addition to a reduction in yield, the net effect of millerandage is that wines of intense flavor and color were produced.
Summer brought unseasonably cold daytime temperatures with the morning marine layer not clearing until 1pm or 2pm each day. The briefly sunny days were followed by cool evenings, which gave the grapes great flavor and color development while preserving the natural acidity. The foggy mornings did compound lingering mold pressure present from the wet spring and therefore canopies were thinned to allow increased air flow and sun exposure to protect against Botrytis. On August 23rd, an unprecedented heat spike saw temperatures reach as high as 115F causing heat damage to the fruit on vines with open canopies. This “spike” lasted for three days and the intense heat necessitated careful crop thinning and sorting in the vineyards. Old vine Zinfandel vineyards were devastated and Chardonnay and Pinot Noir yields were further reduced. The return to cooler weather allowed for continued maturation of undamaged fruit and harvest started in earnest by mid-September. Warm early October weather hastened harvest and allowed for full ripening through to the end of the season when all of the fruit was picked by mid-October, prior to the late season rains.
The 2010 vintage was one of the most challenging I have experienced in my 32 vintages at a commercial winery. Meticulous sorting in vineyards, sorting again at the winery and careful attention to detail produced evocative and unique wines. A vintage of extremes with wines of deep color, juicy flavors, perfumed aromas and juxtaposed with tremendous finesse and balance, 2010 is truly a wonderful vintage in the making.
|Barrel Description:||40% new, 30% 1-year-old, 30% 2-year-old|
|Barrel Aged:||11 months|
|Release Date:||Spring 2012|