Clouds Rest Pinot Noir
2006 'Limited Release' Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
California: Sonoma County: Sonoma Coast
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s Clouds Rest Vineyards Pinot Noir is an absolutely fantastic wine that we can’t recommend highly enough. Do not miss out on this very limited-production Pinot Noir, from our friends at Clouds Rest.
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Mission Codename: The Pinnacle
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Send Agent Red back to the remote, 1250-foot elevation, mountainside Pinot Noir vineyards of Clouds Rest, an Operative favorite. This time, have Red secure Coulds’ 2006 Sonoma Coast Pinot, the pinnacle of Sonoma Pinot Noir.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Clouds Rest Vineyard
Wine Subject: 2006 Clouds Rest Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast
Winemaker: Tony Austin
Backgrounder: Clouds Rest has quickly become the newest cult Pinot Noir. It has created quite a stir among wine aficionados around the world. We were very lucky to have been given exclusive access to today’s 2006 Pinot Noir, which is likely the winery’s very best. This special event is extremely limited, and you will not likely ever have a chance to secure this extraordinary wine at such a fantastic price – ever again.
The Sonoma Coast AVA is the 750 square mile area with the Pacific ocean on its western boundary, the San Pablo Bay to the south and Mendocino County to the north, headed inland to the other designated AVAs in Sonoma County. The region is heavily influenced by the cooler ocean climate, increased rainfall and fog that lingers long on the coastal mountains. The specific climate suits the demanding Burgundian varietals of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay very well.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Gorgeous light ruby red hues, with even coloration from core on out to the pinkish edge of the wine. When swirled, the wine settles quickly, leaving behind tall columns of skinny legs that run slowly down the glass.
Smell – Softly spiced Bing cherry and blackberry mix with dusty raspberry, bramble, young strawberry and a hint of soft spice.
Feel – Soft and light on the entry. Then, quickly, the wine becomes bright and mouthfilling, with a bright acidity that makes the mouth water. Supple tannins and a soft minerality give the wine a voluptuous complexity.
Taste – Bold black cherry, raspberry and flinty gunpowder give way to subtly spiced blackberry, young strawberry, dried violets, dried cranberry and a hint of green tobacco leaf.
Finish – Bright and mouthwatering, with flavors that change and progress on the palate, long after you sip. Cherry gives way to darker, more earthen flavors of spice and minerals. Overall, flavors take a long time to diminish all the way where, at the very end, just a hint of cherry and pepper-spice remain.
Conclusion – Prepare yourself for one of the finest Pinot Noir experiences you have ever had. Today’s 2006 Clouds Rest Pinot Noir is an exemplary wine that is impressive, delicious and tender. This bright, elegant, bright-fruit wine drives big red flavors on the palate, while pleasing the nose with its generous red fruit and earthiness. Bright and fruit-forward, this wine is an exceptional food companion. We paired ours with a spice-rubbed cowboy steak with all the traditional trimmings. This, after consuming half of the bottle as we discussed the wine – while we cooked. We almost declared the wine a perfect solo-sipper but we were all really glad that we tried the wine with the meal that followed. The wine was the perfect compliment to the complex flavors of the meat. Once again, we are blown away by an extraordinary wine from a very unique vineyard, high up Sonoma Mountain. We really love this wine!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Tony Austin
WINE EDUCATION: B.S. UC Davis, Enology & Viticulture
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Winemaker Firestone Vineyard ’1975-83, Owner/Winemaker Austin Cellars 1983-94. Grower of Pinot Noir 1984- present for personal enjoyment, winemaker Clouds Rest Vineyards 2002- present.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Minimal intervention, Maximum style
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “just quit fiddling with it”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: Firestone, 1976
AGENT RED: Greetings, Tony. We are thrilled to be showing your 2006 Clouds Rest Pinot Noir today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
TONY: Glad to help promote wine enjoyment through knowledge.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
TONY: Just growing up in Sonoma County, I think it’s genetic in my case!
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
TONY: André Tchelistcheff was my mentor during my first years as a winemaker. From his inspiration, the passion for artistic involvement and goals elevated the perception of what is possible. He helped me recognize wine as art, not just a beverage
RED: Who do you make wine for?
TONY: Clouds Rest Pinot Noir is made to please my palate as well as those seeking a wine that will make you think and give you the “wow” factor true “Pinotphiles” long for.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
TONY: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today. This 2006 Clouds Rest Pinot Noir is from the high density planting of 4 clones of Dijon and Pommard. The soils are rocky volcanic in origin which is unusual on the Sonoma Coast. The wines were made using low impact winemaking techniques, and barrel aged for 18 months in 60% new Sirugue French Oak barrels, 40% once used Sirugue barrels. This as with all “Limited Release” wines is bottle aged to present to you the ultimate experience in wine appreciation.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
TONY: Grilled Wild Salmon makes a pretty amazing pairing.
RED: Please be sure to invite me over, the next time he prepares that! Tell me, in your opinion, what makes the Sonoma Coast AVA so special?
TONY: Clouds Rest not only has the unusual Volcanic soils, but at 1200 feet elevation climate conditions that allow full development of flavors and extract. The cool Sonoma Coast AVA yields Pinot Noir of depth and character…
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
TONY: We just finished harvest, and now time is dedicated to crush follow-through with barreling down and also preparing the ’10 vintage for bottling.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
TONY: The art of perception requires focus, and a degree of motivation. Look closely, and especially when enjoying a fine Pinot, get the right glass, one that has a large bowl. Pour enough in the glass so that it is allowed to “breath” over time before the glass is emptied . . . repeat.
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 Vineyard Check:
The location of the Clouds Rest Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
92 Points – Cellar Tracker -
About This Wine:
As this is the 5th vintage to come out of Clouds Rest Estate Vineyard, a consistent level of quality and structure is evident here. Elegant, smooth & silky with flavors of dark cherry, blackberry, strawberry and a bit of vanilla. This wine flows over the palate effortlessly to a finish that begs you to come back for more.
About The Winery:
The Clouds Rest Estate Vineyard is situated at a lofty 1250’ on Sonoma Mountain in the heart of the Sonoma Coast Appellation. A dream come true for founder, John Saemann, a passionate pinot collector. Planted in unique volcanic soil on rocky hillsides, the fruit ripens with warm days and cool ocean breezes which help create the unique terroir of Clouds Rest Pinot Noir. This is the most intensely planted vineyard in the Sonoma Coast AVA, at 3’ X 3’ spacing, which makes it ever so difficult and expensive to farm. The vines are forced to struggle and compete in this rocky terrain for minerals and water just to survive; at times it can be an unforgiving environment. It is this struggle for survival that is evident in any vineyard that produces world-class Pinot Noir.
100% of the farming is by hand. There are 10,000+ vines planted high density, 36” X 36”, on the 1.75 acres of the finest Pinot Noir clones selected block by block to ripen together combining to create the consistent, rich and seductive terroir of Clouds Rest Pinot Noir. This is true Burgundian style Pinot Noir which is aged 18 months in the finest French Oak (50% new each year).
In the past, Clouds Rest has only produced one Pinot Noir each year. In 2008 winemaker, Tony Austin & Saemann believed this wine was too great to hold back all of it for their bottle aging program and, “femme fatale” was born.
The 2008 Clouds Rest “femme fatale” Pinot Noir is made with all of the care and tradition that is put into the aged Clouds Rest Pinots, this one is just released as a young ingénue, ready to take your breath away.
Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir
Appellation: Sonoma Coast