Armida Winery

2009 Castelli-Knight Vineyard Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir •Castelli-Knight Vineyard

California: Sonoma County: Russian River Valley

Offer Expired:Aug 09, 2011 at 11:59 pm
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What We Say


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Mission Codename: Bring on the Knight

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Return to multi-year favorite, Arimda Winery. Secure their newest single vineyard Castelli-Knight Ranch Pinot Noir for our Pinot-loving Operatives.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Armida Winery

Wine Subject: 2009 Castelli-Knight Ranch Pinot Noir – Russian River Valley

Winemaker: Brandon Lapides


The Russian River Valley, in Sonoma County, produces Pinot Noir of remarkable distinction. The cooler maritime conditions of the region make the Russian River Valley 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.

The Castelli-Knight Ranch named after Steve and Glenda Castelli and their daughter and son in law Sheri and Rob Knight, is a 9-acre ranch planted in 1997 with about 8,000 vines. Approximately half of those vines are Pinot Noir (Pommard clone 4, and Dijon clone 115), all of which is sold to Armida Winery. This rolling hillside vineyard sits in a bowl above the Russian River. The soil is sandy loam and red clay, and stresses the vines just enough to create perfectly small, intensely flavored berries.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Striking garnet, with perfect clarity. Color is evenly concentrated, right out to the very edge of the wine, where color falls off to nearly clear. When swirled, thin, tightly-spaced legs take a very long time to emerge before moving slowly downward.

Smell – Soft spiced cherry is the lead note, but this is soon overtaken by dusty bramble, blackberry, soft cedar and subtle toasty vanilla.

Feel – Cool and smooth on the attack, the wine feel s quite light at the tip of the tongue. Then, at the mid-palate, the wine firms up and shows off a bigger medium bodied structure. Smooth tannins give the wine a mouth-filling quality.

Taste – Dark cherry, softly smoky blackberry & plum jam (that is more fruit than smoke), toasty vanilla, cedar, black tea, blueberry and stewed black fig that has been ever-so-slightly burned.

Finish – Very long and clean with fruit that slowly gives way to spice, black tea leaf and toasty oak at the tail end.

Conclusion – The 2009 Castelli-Knight Ranch Pinot Noir from our good friends at Armida Winery is a delicious and focused wine that, despite its relative youth, is drinking really beautifully. The wine is a little shy at first, so we recommend decanting. After decanting for at least 30 minutes, the wine really opens up and lets loose with softer, more flavorful fruits and bigger aromatics. Very well-structured and bright, this is a very food-friendly wine. We paired ours with angel hair pasta with tomato sauce with plenty of crumbled Parmesan cheese. Enjoy now, and be sure to cellar a few bottles for the next several years.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the Armida Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

About This Wine:

This vineyard is North East of the Russian River in a small bowl off the valley floor, planted with Dijon clones 777 and 115. The vineyard bowl enjoys slightly higher temperatures during the growing season compared to the surrounding Russian River vineyards, resulting in a unique ripeness in the core of this wine. The small berries typical of Castelli-Knight Vineyard lend to the deep color, rich, velvety and silky red fruits with a touch of blueberry. Black cherry, cinnamon, clove, and molasses are found in the nose. The mouth is firm and well-structured, showing sweet vanilla oak flavors and finishing long

About The Winery:

Since 1994, owners, operators, brothers and partners, Steve and Bruce Cousins have transformed Armida Winery from a quiet producer of good wines into a much livelier place focusing on artisan, single-vineyard wines from the top growers in Sonoma County.

We hand-craft over ten different wines and feature some of the best vineyards in California, including Maple Vineyards Zinfandel and Maple Vineyards Tina’s Block (perhaps California’s BEST Zinfandel vineyard), Durell Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Parmelee-Hill Pinot and Zinfandel, Bacigalupi Pinot Noir, Castelli Knight Pinot Noir, and Dutton Chardonnay. From our seven-acre estate vineyard we produce Il Campo (“Field Blend”), a delicious combination of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah.

While we make seriously great wine the focus at Armida is FUN!, which is one of the reasons we also produce poizin (Zinfandel) “The Wine to Die for,” and ANTIDOTE (Pinot Grigio). We invite you to the winery to try our wines and our warm, friendly hospitality. If so inclined you might want to bring along lunch or an early dinner to enjoy on the large patio as you take in the hillside views of the Russian River Valley, or perhaps play Bocce Ball on the court between the patio and the pond.

Beginning in June, 2011, we are remodeling and dramatically expanding the hospitality areas of the winery. We are creating a number of intimate venues, inside and outside, for winemaker dinners, food and wine pairings, picnics and private tastings. Many of these areas will be exclusive to wine club members. We are quite excited about these changes and will post updates and pictures as the work begins.

We hope to see you soon!

Steve and Bruce Cousins

Technical Analysis:

Variety: Pinot Noir

Vintage: 2009

Optimum Period for Consumption: Drink now to 2019

Appellation: Russian River Valley

Harvest Dates: Sepember 10 2009

Barrel Aging: 18 months in French Oak

Bottling Dates: 2/15/10

Number of Cases: 632

Alcohol: 14.7% (14.5)

PH: 3.78

Total Acidity: 0.56g/100ml

Residual Sugar: Dry

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