2010 Appellation Series Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir •Floodgate Vineyard
California: Sonoma County: Russian River Valley
What we say
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Mission Codename: Home on the Ranch
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Secure an allocation of a Russian River Valley Pinot Noir that is perfect for everyday enjoyment.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Healdsburg Ranches Winery
Wine Subject: 2010 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
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.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Brilliantly clear ruby red that almost has the color and clarity of cherry Jell-O. A bright and clear heart that shows its deep ruby red when held to the light. Along the edges, the color pales slightly and when swirled, medium thin legs slowly descend and broaden as they fall to the wine below.
Smell – Bright and fresh aromas of red cherry, raspberry and strawberry rhubarb blend with earthy undertones, black tea and a touch of sweet spice. Cola and toasted vanilla oak notes also make their appearance.
Feel – Smooth and rich on the palate with supple and smooth tannins that glide over the palate. Lively acidity and a touch of minerality provides a crispness at mid-palate along with a touch of tartness lingers into the finish.
Taste – Classic flavors of red cherry, raspberry and other ripe red fruit blends with cola, soft sweet spice and vanilla toasted oak. Soft woody notes, earth and bitter cherry pit along with some floral hints adds complexity.
Finish – Medium in length and very clean with the ripe red fruit gently fading as the wood, vanilla and other flavors linger just a bit longer.
Conclusion – The 2010 Healdsburg Ranches Winery Russian River Valley Pinot Noir represents the regional well in a very affordable package. Bright and ripe red fruit with enough complexity to add real depth and character along with a soft and supply mouthfeel without sacrificing this wine’s fantastic drinkability. Pair this with your salad or appetizer course or crudités. Enjoy tonight or cellar for the next three years to see how it evolves in character.
Oh, Harvest. We love you and we need you but, oh, how you interfere with our winemaker interviews. We know… You’ll give us back our winemakers, soon…
What the winery says
About This Wine:
Quintessential pinot noir flavors of cherry, raspberry, and rose petal combine on the palate with the spicy flavors of vanilla, sandalwood, and root beer. A wine with a light, silky finish, it is long, smooth, and eminently enjoyable throughout.
Winemaking: The fruit was brought to the winery, where it was sorted, destemmed, and gently augured into small open-top fermenters. The fruit underwent a long, slow fermentation and when entirely dry, was transferred to a basket press for a gentle pressing. The combination of free-run juice and press wine was then transferred to French oak barrels for aging. The wine was racked only once off the gross lees before a final racking for blending and bottling.
The Vineyard: The Floodgate Vineyard is situated at the southern end of the Russian River’s Middle Reach, close to the point where the river’s broad floodplain hits the low rise of the Laguna Ridge. This location is cooler, foggier, and wetter then most of the valley, and the marine influences here can be quite profound. Ocean breezes and morning fog stream through the Petaluma Gap, a break in the coastal hills, and up the Laguna Ridge, settling right
about where Floodgate sits.
Soils at Floodgate are a combination of Glen Ellen and Wilson Grove Formations. The former is composed of river gravels while the latter is mainly uplifted sea floor. Both soil types drain well and provide a wonderful growing platform. This is nearly ideal pinot noir territory, and the resulting character of the wine is evident.
About The Winery:
The North Coast of California, that area to the west of the Mayacamas Mountains and north of San Francisco, is a patchwork of microclimates suitable for nearly any agricultural pursuit. Over the years, the land has been inhabited by a variety of ranchers and farmers, raising all sorts of livestock and growing everything from stone fruits and grapes to greens and root vegetables. In the early days of the California wine industry, Healdsburg was the center of the North Coast, a small farm town where the ranchers and farmers would come to get the tools, equipment, and supplies needed to maintain their ranches as well as themselves. It was here that they would also buy the local wines, varietally labeled, reasonably priced, and damn good.
Over the years, the wine industry has grown remarkably throughout the North Coast, and Healdsburg as well as much of its surroundings have gentrified. But those of us who remember the not-so-old days still recall those local wines, lacking pretense and flash, but possessing a quality that is rare even today. Maybe it was the lack of traffic and hubbub, or perhaps the company, or the view, or the event, but more than likely it was the fact that every time you tasted one of those wines you felt that you had grossly underpaid for it. The wines of Healdsburg Ranches are an homage to these wines. Produced only a handful of decades ago, from vineyards all over the North Coast, they were continually present while we were discovering and learning about the wine business in California, and we remember them well.
Today, our wines are produced from great vineyard sources using time-honored techniques (with a little modern technology thrown in), and our hope is that you will taste in them what we tasted back then. Wines true to their variety and place of origin, balanced, smooth, easy to drink, and hard to forget. We hope you enjoy them. In fact, we encourage you to tell us about your experiences learning about wine and the wine business, and how our wines fit in. After all, wine is about food, it’s about people…you can’t separate them: they go together.
We look forward to reliving our experiences as we hear about yours.
APPELLATION: Russian River Valley
VARIETY: Pinot Noir
AGING: French Oak
TANNIC ACID: 6.06
RESIDUAL SUGAR: 0.16 (dry)
ALCOHOL: 13.7% (13.3%)
BOTTLED: May 2011