2008 Marin County Pinot Noir
California: Marin County
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s unique, delicious, bright, juicy 93-pointer from our pal, David Vergari, is one wine that you won’t want to miss.
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Mission Codename: Calling Agent Elvis!
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Vergari Wines, a Wine Spies Operative favorite, and secure the newest vintage of David Vergari’s delicious and unique Marin County Pinot Noir, a 93-point (Wine & Spirits Magazine) stunner.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Vergari Wines
Wine Subject: 2008 Pinot Noir – Marin County
Winemaker: David Vergari
Backgrounder: We first featured a fantastic Marin County Pinot Noir from Vergari, back in early 2011. Our Operatives loved the wine, buying it in record numbers and returning to the winery, itself, to purchase more. Today, we are thrilled to feature the worthy successor to that wine. David Vergari’s brilliant 2008 has garnered much attention, including a stellar 93-point score. If you haven’t tasted David Vergari’s Marin County Pinot Noit, please be sure to try this special wine.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – When viewed from the side, the wine appears dark ruby red. Viewed from the top, it shows more clear and light, with a dark pink hue. At the edge of the glass, a fin ring of light pink encircles the wine. After you spin the wine, short, chubby legs take a very long time to appear before slowly running downward to the wine below.
Smell – Spiced cherry candy and young strawberry mingle with dried violets, young blackberry, Bing cherry, cranberry and flinty gunpowder. Underneath, soft cedar, tomato stem and dried leaves round out the nose.
Feel – Light and softly grippy at the tip of the tongue, the wine quickly settles onto the entire palate, introducing a flinty dryness that spreads gradually wound the mouth. Bright acids and soft tannins frame the fruit beautifully.
Taste – Bright and balanced, leading off with spiced cherry, young strawberry, tart cranberry and red plum. The fruit is balanced against earthy dried flowers, flint, subtle dried herbs and cedar. At the very end, a white pepper appears, driving flavors to the far corners of the palate.
Finish – Very long and full of lingering red fruit flavors. Fruit gives way to more earthy delights and as these all begin to tail off, an intriguing white pepper feeling appears, driving flavors even more deeply onto the palate.
Conclusion – Unique, intriguing and oh, so delicious, this is one Pinot Noir that you won’t want to miss. Wine & Spirits Magazine gets it right when they declare, “One of the Top Pinots of the Year” and award the wine a stellar 93-point score. This wine is bright, juicy, tender and delicious. It is the perfect compliment to a great meal, and our tasting panel also found it to be a fantastic Summer solo sipper. It is terrific all on its own. From initial sip, to the intriguing, driving finish, this wine is an exciting treat. Once again, David Vergari (who we call “Agent Elvis”) has crafted another Pinot Noir that is worthy of your table! This wine gets our hearty Wine Spies recommendation.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
93 Points – Wine & Spirits Magazine – One of the Top Pinots of the Year – An impressive 2008, this wine shows fascinating herbal tension and drive in its wild berry flavors. Its complexity runs on scents of sage, porcini, rose and mineral earthiness (if any smoke affected the wine, it reads here as a cured meat character rather than ash). The wine’s refined herbal grip will match mushroom ravioli in a sage sauce..
About This Wine:
Ruby color; bouquet of spice, earthy, and red cherry aromas. The fruit-driven entry opens into a silk-textured mid-palate that ends with a seamless and long finish. This wine is made for aging. That’s how I make Pinot Noir.
The vineyard is located in the Chileno Valley in the northeast corner of Marin County. The Petaluma Wind Gap affects the local weather with coastal fog and moderate temperatures which make for a long growing season. One block is a field blend of several Dijon clones, which presents a challenge when it comes time to pick: no two clones ripen at exactly the same time. The remaining grapes were picked from blocks containing 115 and 667 clones.
About The Winery:
Founded in 2003 by owner/winemaker David Vergari, Vergari Wines strives to produce Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon from vineyards that are exclusively suited to those varietals. David shepards the wine from vine to bottle, ages them solely in French oak barrels and trusts that if he’s doing his job well, each wine will display its own “voice” – its own distinctive and unique character.
While studying Enology and Viticulture at UC Davis, David interned at Sonoma-Cutrer and The Hess Collection in Napa Valley, and worked abroad at Coldstream Hills in Australia and Covisa in Spain. Landing back in California, David worked his way up to Research Enologist at Joseph Phelps Vineyard before moving to Rutz Cellars in the Russian River Valley, where he not only became the winemaker, but honed his skills and appreciation for Pinot Noir. Then, after four years as Head Winemaker at Maddalena Vineyards, David decided to launch his own label, Vergari Wines. In his spare time, David acts as a consulting winemaker and teaches extension wine courses at UC Irvine.
David ascribes his life-long interest in wine at least in part to his Italian ancestry. His first memory of wine goes back to when he was five years old, in his great-uncle’s cellar in San Francisco tasting “Dago Red” – cut with water, of course! For a while in his twenties he worked as a financial analyst, but winemaking was in his blood, and inevitably he decided to change careers and follow his passion.
David makes his wines at Owl Ridge Wine Services in Sebastopol, California, formerly co-owned by friends and fellow winemakers Greg LaFollette and Greg Bjornstad. David became fast friends with the two Gregs while attending UC Davis and vowed that one day he would make wine at their facility. The third generation of his family from western Sonoma County, David divides his time between the winery and vineyards in Northern California and his home life with wife Katie Orth in Sierra Madre, Southern California.
David’s philosophy; “Give every lot of grapes the attention and careful handling it needs, let the wine find its voice while knowing when to stay out of the way, and always remember that wine is something to be enjoyed – like the company of an old friend.”
CLONES: Heritage clones and Dijon clones
SOIL: Rocky, clay volcanic
YIELD: Low: 1½ to 2 tons per acre; cordon pruned
CLIMATE: Days typically begin with morning coastal fog which burns off by mid-day and then returns in the evening. Wind is quite common.
HARVEST DATE: October 19, 2008
- Grapes were hand harvested into ½ -ton macrobins
- Hand-sorted twice at the winery, before and after crushing
- 35% of the berries were left uncrushed to add complexity and spiciness
- Cold soaked before the onset of native fermentation
- Malolactic fermentation finished in barrel – winter of 2009
- 20% new, 40% once-filled and 40% neutral French oak
- Aged on the fine lees for seventeen months
- Bottled March 2012, unfined and without filtration
WINE PH: 3.66
TA: 6.12 grams/liter
PRODUCTION: 278 cases