Halleck Vineyard

2007 Three Sons Cuvee Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir •The Farm and Hallberg Vineyards

California: Sonoma County: Russian River Valley

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Mission Codename: The Night Harvest

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Respond to secret intel that Halleck Vineyard has crafted a stellar single vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Secure as many cases of this wine as possible, and make it available to our Operatives – before the winery runs out.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Halleck Vineyard

Wine Subject: 2007 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Winemaker: Rick Davis

Backgrounder: The Russian River Valley, in Sonoma County, produces Pinot Noir of remarkable distinction. The cooler maritime conditions of the region make the RRV ideal for growing Pinot Noir. The Russian River Valley in Sonoma is particularly well suited to producing exceptional Pinot Noir. This AVA was officially designated in 1983, but many of the wines in the region used the designation as early as the 1970s (early in California’s wine history) with the many of the vines having been first planted in the early 1900s. Read Agent Red’s mission report and tasting notes below for the full intel on this exciting wine.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Beautiful dark strawberry juice hued, with a slightly darker heart. Swirl the wine and watch skinny, wine-stained legs march steadily down the glass.

Smell – Leading with strawberry jam and smoky raspberry, the wine evolves as you swirl, eventually delivering buttery blackberry tart, blueberry, and smoky vanilla. These are followed by more subtle aromas of sassafras and rhubarb.

Feel – Soft and round on entry, clean and refreshing. After a moment, the wine becomes grippy at the mid palate. Fine tannins introduce a mild spreading dryness that moves inward from the edges, eventually drying the entire mouth.

Taste – Tart and sweet, with young strawberry, yellow raspberry, cassis, Rainer cherry, rose petals and mild vanilla.

Finish – This wine finishes light, at first, then goes more rich as flavors seem to increase – before they gradually tail off, leaving a soft, mineral dryness.

Conclusion – This is a clean and fresh Pinot Noir that expresses a great Russian River character. The fruit shines through in this wine, with softly smoky flavors that are bright but well-balanced. The feel is crisp and fresh and the more your swirl, the more the jammy aromas jump from the glass. Winemaker Rick Davis is best known for his Pinot Noirs, and this Halleck Vineyard Three Sons Cuvee shows off his talent for coaxing the best qualities out of Russian River Valley fruit. Long on flavor and with a crisp feel, this wine makes for easy and flexible food pairing. If you love lively and juicy Pinot Noir, this wine is worthy of your attention. Enjoy!

Mission Report:


SUBJECT: Ross Halleck


AGENT RED: Greetings, Ross. We are thrilled to be showing your Three Sons Cuvee today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

ROSS: Thanks for ferreting us out and showcasing our wine.

RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

*WINEMAKER: * I recognized early on that wine shared over a meal and with friends elevates the conversation, enhances intimacy and creates community.

RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

ROSS: Greg Lafollette, original winemaker at Flowers, founder of Tandem and on-going mentor.

RED: We love Greg, and have found so many other wine producers that are under his spell, as well! Who do you make wine for?

ROSS: I make it for myself, my family and the growing community of Halleck Vineyard enthusiasts.

RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.

ROSS: Three Sons is a perfect example of a wine I am making for the people I just mentioned. It is named after my sons. I describe it as a perfect Pinot Noir. It is one of the few wines that we craft as opposed to our other vineyard designated wines which are crafted in the vineyards. The Three Sons is a blend of two vineyards that we have selected in our neighborhood, Hallberg Vineyard and The Farm Vineyards. It expresses a delicate balance between earth and fruit. It leads with deep cherry notes and glides along the mid palate with Christmas spices of clove, cinnamon and a touch of forest floor and rewards with a lasting finish of black pepper spice.

RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

ROSS: The beauty of Pinot Noir is that it is so well suited to so many complementary foods it’s hard to choose a favorite but I can name a couple that rise to the top. One is a butterflied leg of lamb marinated in Pinot Noir, soy sauce, mint and rosemary and BBQ’d over the grill. Second would be a mushroom risotto.

RED: In your opinion, what makes the Russian River Valley so special?

*WINEMAKER: RRV is an amazing confluence of natural beauty, climate and culture. We live amidst a love affair between the Pacific Ocean and the Sonoma Coast. Every evening a maritime environment extends a deep French kiss (in the form of fog) along the Russian River Valley. It is palpable. We who live here express this passion in the arts, food and of course wine.

RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

ROSS: Watching the young berries expand and fill their clusters while the shoots reach to the sky gathering the sun’s energy for a bountiful harvest.

RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?

ROSS: People should approach wine with appreciation for the artistry and craft as well as for its intrinsic nature to connect you to the people you are with and the moment you are experiencing. Within that are the flavors and nuance that each wine expresses.

RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

ROSS: As winemakers we have the distinct privilege to shepherd these grapes from earth to glass. There is nothing that we enjoy more than sharing this with the people in our community. Please include yourself and join us for a glass or two on our deck overlooking our vineyards. It is our pleasure.

RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!

What the Winery Says

About This Wine:

The Three Sons Cuvee is a blend of two vineyards in Sebastopol. We consider it the little brother to our Estate Grown Pinot Noir. Now in its sixth vintage, it was the wine that gave rise to Halleck Vineyard, a desire to create a college fund for our three sons, Connor, Adam, and Quinn.

Winemakers Notes: These grapes were picked at night, hand-sorted and destemmed then cold soaked for 5 days before going through whole berry fermentation and receiving 2 punch-downs per day. Fermentation took approximately 12 days in an open top 5 ton fermentation tank and the wine was then racked to barrels.

About The Winery:

A family one acre site, Halleck Vineyard is perched above the Russian River watershed and flanked on the west by the slopes to the Pacific Ocean. It commands an expansive view of the rolling Sonoma County hills to the northeast. This vineyard is to serve as a college fund for our three boys, Connor, Adam, and Quinn. Of course, a passion for Pinot leads the charge.

The People:

Rick Davis, Winemaker – Fed by his life-long passion for all things gourmet and artistic, Rick’s epicurean and creative endeavors led to his graduate work in regional planning at University of Pennsylvania and a career as a leather artisan. However, he found the perfect balance of craftmanship, sensory experiences and life sciences in winemaking.

Within the wine industry, Rick’s desire to improve upon the processes and final product has proven very successful over the past 20 years. He specializes in cool climate varietals like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and has worked with many of the top producers on the Sonoma Coast. During the 2001 and 2002 vintages, Rick worked with winemaker Greg Lafollette, supervising the production of the 2001 Tandem Halleck Vineyard Pinot Noir that won the “Pinot Noir Shootout” in 2002. Over the past years, Rick has become intimately familiar with the Estate Halleck Vineyard terroir, and in 2005, agreed to come on as the Winemaker for the winery. Rick provides oversight and direction for the Halleck Vineyards winemaking, consulting Jennifer and Ross regarding final blends.

Ross Halleck – Ross Halleck provided the vision and passion behind Halleck Vineyard. He embarked upon his wine career in an unconventional manner. He founded Halleck, Inc. in 1980 as one of the preeminent brand and marketing agencies in Silicon Valley .

Pursuing his personal interests, Ross focused his creative energies on both high technology and wine offices in Palo Alto and Sebastopol, CA .

Companies such as 3Com, HP, Agilent, Sun, McKesson Corporation, DayJet, Beaulieu Vineyard, St. Supery Vineyards, Kendall-Jackson, Raymond Vineyards, Iron Horse Vineyards and Jordan Winery worked with Halleck in the interest of enhancing their brands.

Ross moved to Sonoma County in 1991, with a singular vision to develop a Pinot Noir vineyard in the Sonoma Coast region. Once married, Ross and Jennifer dedicated their efforts in the vineyard to putting their future children through college. Planting in 1993, the first harvest was in 1999.

Ross perceives his effort as shepherding the spirit of the earth into every glass of Halleck Vineyard wine. He brings business acumen and sensitivity, fueled by passion. He continues to drive the marketing communication efforts of Halleck Vineyard, along with crafting the wines.

Ross is the father of three sons, maintains two careers, and sits on the Boards of Directors for The Toolbox Project and Sonoma County Legal Aid in serving his community.

Jennifer Halleck – Jennifer has been instrumental in breathing life into and sustaining Halleck Vineyard. While birthing and raising their first son, Connor, Jennifer researched rootstocks at local nurseries. Stumbling upon a single line entry in the yellow pages, she met John Caldwell, who set the cornerstone for Halleck Vineyard’s future success. He introduced Jennifer to the Dijon clones. During the 1992 Napa Valley Wine Auction, Ross and Jennifer tasted barrel samples of Pinot Noir from Saintsbury. Delighted by what they experienced, they inquired to discover the Dijon clones 667, 777, and 115. These were what they purchased from John.

With the vineyard and three children well underway, Jennifer began to further delve into the world of wine which quickly became a passion. Beginning by working in the cellar at Tandem Winery with Greg Lafollette, she then moved into the tasting room at J Vineyards and Winery, followed by a job in outside sales with West Coast Wines. All her wine related experience, along with her love of agriculture, soon led her to know that producing Halleck Vineyard wines was what she was meant to do.

She now wears many hats, among them sourcing vineyards, wine production, restaurant sales, mounds of emails and, of course, tasting many great wines.

Technical Analysis:

TA: 6.1g/L

Alcohol: 14.1%

Appellation: Russian River Valley

Bottling Date: August 13, 2008

Oak: 100% French oak, 30% new

Release Date: August 01, 2009

Time In Oak: 9 months

Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir

Varietal Notes: Clones 155 and 777

Vineyard Notes: The Farm and Hallberg Vineyards

Year: 2007

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