2005 Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir •Jeriko Estate
California: Mendocino County
What We Say
Mission Codename: Return of the Prince, Part II
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Follow up on Agent Sparkles mission to Jeriko, this time to uncover a Pinot Noir
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: Jeriko Estate
Wine Subject: 2005 Pinot Noir
Vintner: Danny Fetzer
Winemaker: Jeff Cichocki
Yesterday, The Wine Spies brought you a stellar Reserve Chardonnay from Jeriko Estate. It was so good, that Central Command sent Agent Red in to discover their award-winning Pinot Noir.
Awards and Accolades
Bronze Medal – 2007 Mendocino County Wine Fair
87 points out of 100 – Wine Enthusiast (November 2007)
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Intense and radiant ruby red with bright highlights, unusual for a California Pinot and we love that about this wine!
Smell – vibrant raspberry with cherry, black pepper, vanilla and subtlest gunpowder
Feel – Smooth and initially heavy in the mouth, this wine coats your mouth with warmth and has gentle tannins
Taste – Starts off raspberry and fruit punch, but goes to darker plum and cherry with creamy and subtle gunpowder-vanilla
Finish – Lingering tannins with raspberry, dark stonefruit and soft toasted oak
Conclusion – Agent Sparkle was right about Jeriko Estate; They make great wines. Today’s wine, their 2005 Pinot Noir, is wonderfully complex while still being very approachable. There is nothing in this wine that makes it hard to understand. It’s a tasty, easy-drinker that won’t bore you – or alienate you with crazy characteristics that make some Pinot difficult to enjoy. This is a delicious, vibrant and fun wine to drink alone or as a compliment to a fine meal.
Yesterday, Agent Sparkle, fresh out of advanced training, was sent to visit with Danny Fetzer and winemaker Jeff Cichocki and to bring back their delicious Reserve Chardonnay. Even I can admit that it was great.
We were curious to know how this winery’s red wine held up to our scrutiny and as I have been particularly partial to California Pinot Noir of late, I thought I’d give it a whirl.
This Wine Spies visit to the winery had me visit the tasting room unannounced and deep undercover. I donned my best tourist garb and, looking like a severely fashion-challenged yokel, walked across the grounds toward the Estatehouse and tasting room. I paused when I heard a sound that I had not heard in a long time; Peacocks! I love their calls and standing here in the sun, outside of the glorious Mediterranean-style Estate house, I am transported to past missions to Italy and beyond.
“Sir? Excuse me, Sir!?”
I am shaken from my reverie.
Ever so eloquently, I reply, “Huh?”
“You’re blocking the driveway. Do you mind?”
I give a ridiculous bow and head for the tasting room.
Inside, I am greeted by Margaret Pedroni, Tasting Room manager. I know who she is from Intel briefings at Central Command. I make my way to the counter and am asked if I might enjoy a ‘tour’ of Jeriko Estates’ wines. I replied with a, “Gosh, yes!” and away we went.
I was very impressed with the presentation of the wines and with the manner with which an apparent wine dummy like myself was treated. Margaret spoke in a way that was genuine, patient, and without the monotone drone that some tasting room folk get after repeating the same information ten thousands times. Margaret paid attention to my replies to her questions and tailored her presentation to my particular experience level.
If I were as truly wine, uh, dumb as I was pretending to be, I would have felt well guided as she described Jeriko Estates’ wines, differences in varietals and the benefits of organic and biodynamic farming practices. She presented a ton of information, but made it fun and easy to understand.
The wines were excellent, too, and of particular interest to me was their Pinot Noir, which I present to our spies today. This is a beautifully rounded wine, with plenty of character. It lacks some of the ‘barnyard’ and ‘gunpowder’ found in some Pinot Noir and has a fruit-juiciness that really grew on me the more I sampled the wine.
I know that Pinot Noir has been a favorite of our agents (you, dear reader) in recent months and this is a wine that reinforces the trend. Pick some up if you want to try a unique Pinot Noir with great pedigree and superb quality.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
Jeriko Estates emerged in 1997 when Daniel Fetzer began to replant the ranch with modern rootstocks and newly available clones of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and Sangiovese. The vineyards were planted on a 6×6 foot (1210 vines per acre) high-density spacing in order to force the roots to go deeper into the gravely loam soil to optimize terroir and intensify fruit flavors.
Key to Jeriko’s philosophy is the use of biodynamic and organic farming practices to promote plant diversity such as cover crops, and encourage soil balance without the use of synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides. We have found that wines grown in this manner have more structural balance and require less manipulation during the vinification process; as well as being good for animal life and the environment. It’s common to see chickens, goats, and sheep roaming Jeriko’s vineyards and hillsides.
The Jeriko Estate winery can be seen in this satellite photo
Wine Spies Technical Wine Analysis
Detailed Wine Information
Bottling Date: January 17, 2007
Fermentation: Fermented in small open-topped containers
Harvest Date: September 9th, 2005
Harvest Notes: The fruit was handpicked for whole grape clusters. The Pinot Noir fruit also tends to be more delicate, with thin skin so requires more careful handling in the vineyard.
Months in Barrel: Barrique 300L
Oak: 20% new French, American, Eastern European oak
Release Date: February 01, 2007
Special Designation: CCOF Certified 100% Organically Grown
Sugar: 24.2% Brix at harvest
What the Winery Says
SPECIAL ALERT: October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and Jeriko Estates and The Wine Spies are teaming up to fight breast cancer! For every bottle that you purchase today, Jeriko Estate will donate $1 and The Wine Spies will donate $1 (for a total of $2 per bottle purchased) to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Thank you Jeriko Estate and thank you, Wine Spies customer for your support!
About Our Pinot Noir
This varietally correct Pinot Noir reflects the traditional Burgundian style of silky elegance balanced by depth & complexity. Intense raspberry, light cherry & black pepper spices are complemented by a toasted oak & vanilla bouquet.
Moderate pallet weight with concentrated mouth coating flavors of raspberry & black cherry spice surrounded by a creamy vanillin structure. Soft tannins linger with intense raspberry spices & toasty oak components.
Aromas: Intense raspberry, light cherry & black pepper spices are complemented by a toasted oak & vanilla bouquet.
Palate: Moderate pallet weight with concentrated mouth coating flavors of raspberry & black cherry spice surrounded by a creamy vanillin structure. Finish: Soft tannins linger with intense raspberry spices & toasty oak components. Serve with rich poultry game, or grilled and smoked meats with fruit glazes and chutneys. Pair with Cheesecake Momma’s Raspberry Swirl with Raspberry Puree or Wild Strawberry Cheesecake.
Location: The Jeriko Estate Vineyard is located in the Sanel Valley of the upper canyon of the Russian River basin in lower Mendocino County. The Pinot Noir is grown in a flat section of the vineyard surrounding the winery and Estate House, as well as in the central area of the vineyards. Soils: The block has deep, alluvial soils of gravelly-loam soil, with the emphasis on gravel as the section is closer to the River, which results in good drainage. Water: The land is 486 feet above sea level. The vineyard typically receives 30 inches of rain annually, experiencing no rainfall between May and October and necessitating the use of a drip irrigation system for approximately 8 hours per week during the summer months. Overhead sprinklers are used for heat control once the temperatures rise above 90 degrees. During the summer the fruit is cooled and air is moved air through the vineyard by typical afternoon breezes.
Canopy Management: Jeriko uses 6×6 high density spacing, 1210 plants per acre. The narrow trellises provide shade for the rows of vines behind, providing a natural filter of sunlight to minimize loss of fruit flavors because of intense heat, and to reduce sunburn of the grapes. A combination of high trellis system and hand pruning encourages movement of air to inhibit the growth of moulds and mildews.
Cover Crops: Once the fruit is harvested and the vines go dormant for the winter, cover crops consisting of an organic mix of legumes, bell beans, peas, wild oats and vetch are applied very second year. Organic Certification: This vineyard is farmed organically and is certified 100% organically grown by CCOF, IFOAM and USDA.
Vintage Notes: Average rainfall of 30 inches. No unusual occurrences with the weather patterns. Average budbreak, ripening and harvesting times. Higher than average yields.
Winemakers Notes: This varietally correct Pinot Noir reflects the traditional Burgundian style of silky elegance balanced by depth & complexity. The Dijon Clone 115 was selected for its strong acid structure and the 667 has less acid so balances the 115. The Pommard clone is a bigger grape and very well suited to sparkling wines. Each lot is treated separately, and once harvested, the fruit is destemmed, and lightly crushed by the Bucher press. The juice and skins are then cold-soaked for few days prior to fermenting on the skins using GMO-free yeast in small open topped containers. The traditional manual punch-down pigeage method is used on a small portion of the must several times a day during fermentation to intensify the aroma, color & tannin of the wine. After fermentation, the juice is racked off and the skins are put into macrobins and transferred to the Bucher membrane press to be gently pressed again. The wine is racked again and then each lot is matured separately in oak, and then blended and filtered prior to bottling.