Robert Stemmler Winery
2007 Nugent Vineyard Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir •Nugent Vineyard
California: Sonoma County: Russian River Valley
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s selection from Robert Stemmler Winery is a delicious example of the great Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley region. If you love Pinot, then this terrific wine is well worth a taste.
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Mission Codename: The Spirit of Pinot Noir
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Operative favorite, Robert Stemmler Winery, and acquire their delicious Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Robert Stemmler Winery
Wine Subject: 2007 Nugent Vineyard Pinot Noir – Russian River Valley
Winemaker: Kenneth Juhasz
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 – Pure red cherry juice, translucent like cherry jell-o, with a bouncy surface that settles quickly when the wine is swirled. Tall legs start high up on the glass. They start slowly, then rocket downward to the surface of the wine.
Smell – Dark black cherry, bramble blackberry and earthy strawberry are the predominant notes. These sit atop earthy strawberry, raspberry and subtle aromas of tomato stem, tobacco tin, and the softest hint of mulchy earth.
Feel – Smooth and fast across the entry, then medium bodied and softly grippy, spreading a soft mineral-driven dryness from the front of the palate to the rear.
Taste – Dark black cherry, raspberry, young strawberry and green tobacco are the primary flavors. These are followed by more subtle flavors of green tobacco leaf, stewed fig, plum and black pepper.
Finish – Very long in length with the lingering smokt-tart red-fruit, earthy fig and black pepper, with a balanced acidity that adds a mouth-watering effect at the tail end.
Conclusion – This 2007 Nugent Vineyard Pinot Noir is another delicious wine from our freinds at Robert Stemmler Winery. We are always dazzled by their exceptional Pinot Noir, and we impressed by the diversity and differences between their Pinots. We showcased their spectacular 2007 Carneros Pinot, earlier this year, and today’s Russian River Pinot is every bit as great. The wine shows off the terroir of the Russian River Valley – and the skills of winemaker, Kenneth Juhasz. This wine is a balanced, delicious wine in more of an old world style than the Carneros, and we loved every sip. Drinking beautifully, this wine is cellar-worthy, as well.
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 Nugent Vineyard Russian River Valley 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: 2007 was a terrific vintage. The Nugent Vineyard is located in Russian River Valley. Anne Moller Racke planted these 11 acres of Dijon Clones in 1997. The fruit is spectacular and opulent, juicy…a very forward wine, yet with structure to carry through to the supple finish. Think Bing cherry, cranberry and black plum and delicate traces of black tea and cloves.
WHITE: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
KENNETH: Salmon, seared simply in olive oil, sea salt and ground pepper.
WHITE: In your opinion, what makes the Russian River Valley so special?
KENNETH: Unique micro-climate creates perfect balance in our wines. The fog cools the night air keeping our acidity bright allowing for our wines to age beautifully.
WHITE: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
KENNETH: With all of the fruit just in from the 2010 harvest, CRUSH!
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
About This Wine:
Complex Bing cherry and ripe plum aromas combine with hints of spice and forest floor in the fruit-forward yet subtly earthy nose of this Pinot Noir. Vibrant, juicy cherry and cranberry flavors mingle with black plum and delicate traces of black tea and cloves enhance the long-lasting, supple and silky finish.
FERMENTATION DETAILS: Hand-sorted, fruit entirely destemmed and put to tank by gravity fow. Cold soaked before fermentation. Half of Dijon 667 fruit crushed, fermented with extractive yeast for full aromatics. The 115 clone was totally whole berry fermented, given less punchdowns and more pumpovers to extract lighter skin tannins. Pumpovers before 20° Brix, then three evenly spaced daily punchdowns until reaching 5° Brix. Each fermentation ended with pumpovers to allow the yeast to breath. Cap temperature during fermentation reached 94°F. Immediately after fermentation, first press is blended with free run and hard-pressed wines are separated for later
evaluation. Barrels are flled the same day to retain lees for aging.
WEATHER ATTRIBUTES: It is a pleasure to write about the 2007 vintage as there are few years that seem so perfect or give us such great results. 2007 was one of those benchmark years that shows the true potential of each block. Our best blocks did not improve as much as the lesser blocks because year in and year out they deliver the best fruit without much intervention, which is the sign of a truly great site. Our lesser blocks shone as climate, crop load and ripening all fell into place, giving us overall stellar quality.
2007 was a drier than normal year, with good winter chill and a nice even bud break in late February. The rains stopped early, but the soils almost reached the 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, the 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, and 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 or 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 fnishing with our Donum and Calera selections.
2007 was light in quantity, but gave us wines that are fully ripe, nicely balanced with good acidity, structure and sound pHs. Thes wines 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% Russian River estate grown Pinot Noir, 115, 667 clones
HARVEST DATE: September 15, 2007
PRODUCTION: 1100 cases
TOTAL ACIDITY: 0.64g/100ml
BARREL PROGRAM: 11 months in Burgundian cooperage, 45% new