Robert Stemmler Winery
2007 Carneros Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir •Estate Grown
California: Sonoma County: Carneros
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s selection from Robert Stemmler Winery is a delicious example of the great Pinot Noir from the Carneros region. If you love Pinot, then this wine is well worth a taste.
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Mission Codename: Pioneering California Pinot
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Infiltrate Robert Stemmler Winery and acquire their delicious Carneros Estate Grown Pinot Noir
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Robert Stemmler Winery
Wine Subject: 2007 Carneros Estate Grown Pinot Noir
Winemaker: Kenneth Juhasz
Backgrounder: Some of our favorite California Pinot Noir comes from the independent Carneros viticultural area, a wine growing region which straddles the Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley. Originally designated in 1983, the region’s distinct Terroir and cool climate make it one of the best regions for the Burgundian varietals of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The first grapes were planted here in the early 1800s by missionaries. The cool Carneros region provides ideal growing conditions for Pinot Noir and Pinot thrives here.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep ruby red in color with bright ruby streaks throughout its clear but intense core. The color remains deep to the meniscus and when swirled, this wine leaves randomly spaced medium thick legs that move deliberately down to the wine below.
Smell – Medium in intensity with complex aromas of sandalwood, graphite gun smoke, herbal mint and a soft earthy minerality that blends perfecting with the bright but balanced red fruit, specifically red cherry notes.
Feel – Smooth and supple, this dry medium-to-full bodied wine has silky medium tannins that are buttressed by lively acidity and balanced minerality.
Taste – Fresh and rich red cherry along with other red fruit melds with notes of cola, soft spice, soft earthy minerality, herbal notes including mint, and hints of sandalwood and oak.
Finish – Medium long in length with the lingering ripe cherry fading gracefully leaving behind a touch of acidity that holds onto the complex flavors and invites another sip.
Conclusion – The 2007 Robert Stemmler Winery Carneros Estate Grown Pinot Noir is a delicious example of why the Carneros region is so highly regarded for Pinot Noir. Bright ruby color with an inviting and complex nose. Supple and smooth on the palate with fresh red fruit and other classic complex Pinot flavors that linger into the finish. Drinking lovely right now, but will certainly cellar well for at least the next five years.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Kenneth Juhasz
WINE EDUCATION: Industry Learned
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Began working with Donum Estate in 2002, now consult with several California wineries and own Auteur
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Dualism, great structure while maintaining elegance
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: Summer 2003 – 2002 Stemmler Carneros Estate Grown Pinot Noir
AGENT WHITE: Greetings, Kenneth, we are thrilled to be showing your 2007 Carneros Estate Grown Pinot Noir today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
KENNETH: Great to be here.
WHITE: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
KENNETH: No, it was a series of experiences in the restaurant business where I came to understand the beauty and lifestyle of wine and the culture around it.
WHITE: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
WHITE: Who do you make wine for?
KENNETH: I make wine for the vineyard, I do everything or as little as possible to let the vineyard speak.
WHITE: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
KENNETH: It is a scope of all the clones from the Donum Estate, each farmed and made separately, it is an expression of both the place and people that work there.
WHITE: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
KENNETH: Roasted Chicken
WHITE: In your opinion, what makes the CARNEROS so special?
KENNETH: Not only its beauty, but the maritime feel of Southern Carneros; often you can taste the sea salt in the air and sometimes in the wine from the breezes that blow off San Pablo Bay.
WHITE: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
KENNETH: Less in the winery, more in the vineyard, we are starting verasion, when the green grapes start to change red, and it is time to inspect crop levels and make final fruit thinning passes.
WHITE: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
KENNETH: Do not expect all power, look for and enjoy finesse.
WHITE: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
KENNETH: Thank you, it has been a pleasure working with you.
WHITE: 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!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The approximate location of the Robert Stemmler Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
90 Points – Wine Enthusiast – A very nice Pinot that shows the classic elegance associated with this producer. It’s one to drink now. Dry and silky, it offers rich, complex flavors of cherries, cola, spices and sandalwood. Feels really classy all the way through.
About This Wine:
Aromas of vibrant fresh raspberry, strawberry puree, coriander, sandalwood, orange peel and iron. Wild strawberry, cherry pit and cinnamon are built on rich chocolate tannins that carry on to a long espresso finish.
FERMENTATION DETAILS: Hand sorted, entirely destemmed and moved to temperature controlled stainless steel tanks with the use of gravity. The must is cold soaked for 4-6 days before native fermentation or being inoculated with a Burgundian yeast isolate. Fermentation is hot, allowing to reach maximum temperatures between 92-95F lasting 5-9 days. During fermentation the cap is hand plunged three times a day. Upon completion of fermentation first press is blended with free run and heavy press is separated for later evaluation. Wine goes directly to barrel to retain lees for aging. Each block is made and aged separately until the final blend is assemble in the Spring and put back to barrel for five months to allow the components to
marry. The blend represents every part of the estate encompassing Dijon, Martini, Roderer, Calera, Hanzell and Swan selections.
WEATHER ATTRIBUTES: 2007 was a dryer than normal year, with good winter chill and a nice even bud-break in late February. The rains stopped early but the soils reached almost full point which got us off to a good start. A fairly cool April slowed down growth making good use of the soil moisture. May was more temperamental, hot early days pushed bloom into gear, then cool, then hot again causing shatter and giving us loose clusters and small berries. These are good quality indicators because a loose cluster stays free of rot and small berries give us a larger skin to juice ratio, resulting in more intense wines as pigments, tannins and favors are in the skins.
The summer continued smoothly with only one heat spike in July, otherwise a cool, moderate summer. The next big event happened around late August / early September as temperatures climbed into the 90’s. Depending on the brix / sugar level of your fruit this can mean the start of harvest. That is our California dilemma! Most of our blocks were around 21 brix giving us the chance to let this heat pass; the following weeks were ideal rewarding us with beautiful ripening weather. We picked over a period of almost six weeks, concentrating on each block as it reached perfect ripeness. This was a long harvest period as all of our fruit comes from our estate vineyard in Carneros or the Russian River appellation. In 2007 picking occurred around clones not sites, starting with the Dijons, followed by Martini, Swan and Hanzell and finishing with our Donum selection and Calera.
2007 was light in quantity but gave us wines that are fully ripe, nicely balanced with good acidity, structure and sound pH’s. These are wines that should age beautifully but are pleasing young as they have such nice fruit expression. We are very proud of these wines, enjoy.
About The Winery:
Stemmler wines are handcrafted, limited releases of estate grown varietals. The mission of our dedicated vineyard and winemaking team is to produce world-class wines noteworthy in style and intensity. Located atop the first rolling hills in the Carneros region that rise up from San Pablo Bay, Ferguson Block lies less than a mile east of Donum Ranch. The oldest vineyard in The Donum Estate, it was planted in 1974 with an old Martini selection of Pinot Noir on St. George rootstock in gravelly, loamy clay soils.
History: Robert Stemmler is a pioneer, an early and passionate producer of outstanding California Pinot Noir. He is also a dear friend of the Racke family. And that is why our label bears his name.
Robert arrived in Napa Valley in 1961 after making wine for nearly a decade in his native Germany. He worked at the prestigious Charles Krug Winery with the Mondavi brothers, then became winemaker at historic Simi in Sonoma County. He also consulted for other prominent wineries like Inglenook, St. Clement and Raymond, and in 1976, founded his own winery in Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley. In 1982, having found a cool-climate Russian River Valley fruit source, he released his first Pinot Noir to great critical acclaim.
Meanwhile, Marcus and Anne Moller-Racke arrived from Germany in 1981 to work at their family’s Buena Vista Winery in the Carneros region. Anne was named vineyard manager in 1983, and she learned her craft from, among others, legendary winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff. At the same time, Robert was mentoring young Pinot Noir producers like Davis Bynum and Gary Farrell.
Robert traveled widely, tirelessly promoting his Pinot Noir at tastings dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay producers, and he steadily developed his own following. It was in Aspen, Colorado, in 1984 that Marcus Moller-Racke introduced him to Anne and their friendship began.
In 1989, weary of travel, Robert retired from full-time winemaking after 35 years. His friends, the Rackes, purchased his label, maintaining it as a wine club and tasting room brand within Buena Vista.
By the late 1990’s, Anne was vice president of vineyard operations, managing a thousand acres of vines and replanting half of them. During the same period, Kenneth Juhasz honed his skills making Pinot Noir at Flynn Vineyards in Oregon.
When Buena Vista sold to Allied Domecq in 2001, the Racke family kept one jewel of a vineyard they called The Donum Estate, where Anne launched an “ultimate Pinot Noir” project to create wines of exquisite quality. With the addition of Ferguson Block and Nugent as estate vineyards, Robert Stemmler became Donum’s sister brand.
In 2002, Kenneth Juhasz joined a devoted team of professionals who share Robert Stemmler’s passion for Pinot Noir and who also enjoy his counsel during his periodic visits to talk and taste with them. Today, Stemmler wines are available at fine restaurants and retail shops in key markets throughout the United States.
FRUIT: 100% Carneros Estate Grown Pinot Noir
HARVEST DATE: September 11 – October 6
PRODUCTION: 3500 cases
TOTAL ACIDITY: 0.6g
BARREL PROGRAM: 40% new (François Frères, Billon, Mercurey, Hermitage)