Oh yes, this is a California Pinot Noir, ripe and rich for sure, still it is a true beauty! Already at the first sip, it reveals a lively, fresh and explosive flavor with intense notes of raspberries and sweet cherries as well as rose hips, and – which I find very attractive – just a small trace of fresh green grass which adds a very interesting personality to the wine. The first kiss of sweetness is finely balanced with a fresh acidity and a long dry finish, which adds complexity, and tannins are silky. One thing that is quite amazing is that the 15.6 percent of alcohol is so well integrated. There’s just nothing to complain about the alcohol content in this wine, but normally I’m not that forgiving about alcohol levels like this in a pinot. In this case, alcohol is not an issue!
Tasted completely blind, this wine reminded me of the riper, lush and fresh wines from cult producer Brewer-Clifton in Santa Rita Hills, but without the greenish and herbaceous note derived from the stems used by Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton. Apart from that, these wines are very closely related. A good recommendation is to serve this wine at 15-16 degrees Celsius, otherwise the ripe flavors and the higher alcohol might stand out just a bit too much. Looking for burgundian excellence? Then you have to look somewhere else – this is a much more expressive and intense pinot.
Grapes are sourced from the Reuling Vineyard in Sonoma Coast, and it’s said that the clones comes from Richebourg in Vosne-Romanée. The juice is fermented in small open top fermenters with frequent pigeage, and the wine is then matured in all new French oak barrels (the oak flavor is surprisingly well integrated). Production is small, only 110 cases were made.