Red Car Wine
2009 Boxcar Pinot Noir
California: Sonoma County: Sonoma Coast
What We Say
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Mission Codename: Tickets, please!
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Infiltrate Red Car Winery, in Sonoma County’s Pinot-perfect Sonoma Coast appellation. Sample their Pinot Noir and secure an allocation if the wine meets our highest quality standards.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Red Car Winery
Wine Subject: 2009 Boxcar Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Winemaker: Carroll Kemp
Backgrounder: For the last decade, Carroll Kemp and his accomplished team have been making California wines of remarkable distinction. Perhaps best known for their stunning Syrah, it is their Pinot Noir that caught our eye – and palate. Today’s wine delivers a wonder drinking experience, at a fantastic price. Today, we are proud to bring you Carroll’s wonderful 2009 Boxcar Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.
The Sonoma Coast AVA, established in 1987, is the area directly adjacent to the Pacific coastline of Sonoma County. The ocean’s influence causing a cooler, higher rainfall and foggy climate most influences the vineyards of this region, many of which have exceptional views of the mighty Pacific. These factors cause grapes to mature and ripen more slowly which is idea for Pinot Noir. The region is approximately 750 square miles with about 7,000 acres under vine.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Light ruby hues are the prevailing color. The wine has a slightly darker core and color remains concentrated, right out to its soft pink edges. When swirled, tightly spaced legs form high up on the glass, taking a very long time to reach the wine, below.
Smell – Rich and aromatic with earthy aromas and red fruit jumping from the glass. Spiced red fruit includes red cherry, dark raspberry, young strawberry. Earthy sweet tobacco, black tea and toasty oak mingle with a soft minerality and subtle black pepper.
Feel – Cool and light across the front-palate, this wine then gradually takes on a plush medium-bodied feel, with pronounced crushed velvet at the mid. Well structured, lively and complex with bright acids and fine to medium tannins. Light minerals appear as a soft dryness spreads from the mid-palate, outward.
Taste – Dark cherry and young strawberry and the primary fruit notes – at first. These mingle with earthy mushroom, dried fall leaves, black tea leaf and a hint of dried violet. As the wine opens up, subtle truffle, kola nut, a hint of black pepper and soft minerals add softness, depth and complexity.
Finish – Long and clean with ripe red fruit slowly yielding to the earthen flavors. At the very end, subtle minerals and black pepper linger as the palate slowly dries.
Conclusion – The 2009 Boxcar Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir from our new friends at Red Car Winery is a fantastic Pinot Noir that delivers a big, delicious drinking experience – at a really great value. While I was visiting with the winery, we got into a discussion of Terroir, or that sense of place that is expressed through a wine. Viticulturist, Paul Sequeira, concludes that Pinot Noir, more than any other varietal, expresses terrior. I could not agree more. Today’s wine comes from select vineyard sources around the Sonoma Coast, including the winery’s own estate vineyard. With a bountiful nose, a plush feel and a complex palate, this is a wonderful wine to enjoy all on its own, but we also recommend that you pair it – with almost anything. This is certainly a very food-friendly wine. Enjoy now or age for the next five years.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Carroll Kemp
WINE EDUCATION: On the job training
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: I started Red Car in 2000. This is my only job in the wine business. Previously, I was a film producer.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Red Car combines modern viticulture with traditional winemaking to craft balanced, food friendly wines.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: ”Our aim is to faithfully give voice to the West Sonoma Coast’s cool-climate personality by producing wines that express fruit and terroir with equal regard.”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 2000 vintage
AGENT RED: Greetings, Carroll. We are thrilled to be showing your 2009 Box Car Pinot Noir today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
CARROLL KEMP: We are thrilled as well.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
CARROLL: In my previous career as a film producer I had the opportunity to visit France several times with Johnny Depp. We enjoyed many bottles of old burgundy together with friends overlooking the Mediterranean at the Hotel du Cap. I had never tasted wines of this quality before so I set out to learn as much about them as possible. This journey eventually inspired me to become a winemaker.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
CARROLL: Henri Jayer. [ed. Note: French winemaster, Henri Jayer, was the most renowned Burgundy maker of his generation
RED: Who do you make wine for?
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
CARROLL: The 2009 Boxcar Pinot Noir is an elegant wine the pairs well with food and should age gracefully. Like most good Pinot Noir, it is built around its acid, not its tannins so it offers great purity and minerality.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
CARROLL: Roast Chicken.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Sonoma Coast so special?
CARROLL: The West Sonoma Coast is our home and our passion. Climate is the single most influential factor in determining the potential quality of fruit and the West Sonoma Coast climate is ideal: cool and temperate with a long, dry growing season that allows grapes to develop intense flavor without high sugar. This is cool-climate viticulture— literally on the edge—where grapes struggle to ripen on the margin of viability.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
CARROLL: In the company of friends at the dinner table
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
CARROLL: I hope you enjoy drinking this wine as much as I enjoyed making it.
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!
Wine Spies Winery Check:
The location of the tasting room, where Red Car’s incredible wines can be found, can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
An intense bouquet of potpourri, black trumpet mushrooms and bing cherry blossoms with undercurrents of pomegranate fruit and stem spice.The midpalate is balanced and integrated, focusing on pure fruit with subtle minerality. A bright, aromatic Pinot Noir in a subtle, elegant style that will pair well with food and age gracefully.
About The Winery:
Red Car was founded by Carroll Kemp and Mark Estrin in 2000 with 50 cases of Syrah from a single ton of grapes. Besides an enthusiasm for wine, they also shared a Hollywood background – Carroll as producer, Mark as screenwriter. Their intent was simple: source great grapes, make great wine and market it in an inventive, original way.
The winery name is a tribute to the electric trolley cars that ran throughout Los Angeles from the late 19th century through the early 1960’s. These “red cars” provided transportation in a romanticized time and place. We strive to make wines that are similarly memorable and transportive.
Winemaking Style: Red Car uses meticulous viticulture and transparent winemaking to craft wines with authentic character and originality. Combining old and new world techniques, we minimize manipulation so the fruit can faithfully express the cool climate personality of the Sonoma Coast.
Appellation: Sonoma Coast