David Noyes Wines
2005 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir •Dutton Ranch
California: Sonoma County: Russian River Valley
What We Say
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Mission Codename: Burgundy, West
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Seek out a California Pinot to rival the best of Burgundy.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: David Noyes Wines
Wine Subject: 2005 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Winemaker: David Noyes
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 many of the vines having been first planted in the early 1900s.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – This wine is clear dark ruby and garnet hued with pink edges and clusters of long thick legs when swirled.
Smell – Medium-bold aromas and youthful in development with a balanced bouquet of ripe sweet cherries over a solid earthy core, with baking spices and a touch of fennel, toasted oak, and vanilla.
Feel – Smooth and dry with firm, structured, but slightly-sweet fine tannins. Bright acidity with a spicy feel on both the tip of the tongue and back of the palate.
Taste – Well balanced with the earthy component hitting first over-ripe red cherries. Then the toasted oak, spicy and sweet cinnamon and a hint of herbaceousness round out this complex wine.
Finish – This wine finishes long and smooth with hints of spicy cinnamon, earthiness and lingering ripe cherries.
Conclusion – Fans of the great wines of Burgundy will naturally appreciate this well balanced, structured and earthy Pinot. Not at all the typical light and fruity cherry-cola Pinot Noir that we see all too often from California, this complex wine leads off with its Terroir, toast and spice.
Below is an excerpt from the Mission Report when Agent Red originally met with winemaker David Noyes.
I was very lucky to spend time with David Noyes yesterday. David was in town to show his wines and to appear on a local radio program.
It was a sunny day in Monterey, slightly uncharacteristic weather as lately we have had some very overcast days here at the Monterey Wine Spies Safehouse.
David was sitting out on the patio when I arrived. Despite his dark glasses (spy shades?) and his farmer hat, I recognized him from the photos that can be found on his website.
David Noyes is a winemaker that has lived his entire professional career in the wine business. His winemaking roots are deep – and widely dispersed, for he has made wine in Monterey, Livermore, France, Mendocino and now the Sonoma Valley.
David describes his wines as “Food wines”, and he creates wines that are meant to be in balance with a meal, where some California wines can tend to overpower a meal.
When I asked David what was happening in his world of late, he replied, “I’m on pins and needles at the moment. This is the time of year when we are starting to see the color of the grapes begin to change. That is an event which starts the countdown to harvest, another critical time. This is the last month of ripening and it is the time where the real character of the wine will be determined. Decisions made in the vineyard now will really affect the outcome and quality of the wine.”
I asked him if the radical temperature swings or the recent frost had an effect on the grapes and he reported that one of his vineyard blocks had been damaged by the frost in particular. “I would usually see a 3 ton yield from one of my one-acre blocks. This harvest I will probably only get about a half-ton.”
I thanked David for the time he was able to spend with me and as we were parting, he pointed out that he experiences no corked (spoiled) wines, due to the type of corks that he uses in his wines. Made from real cork, but pulped and then formed and purified with high-pressure carbon dioxide gasses, these corks maintain a perfect seal, without contaminating the wine with TCA (2,4,6-Trichloroanisole), a chemical that can spoil a wine. With the corks that David uses, no TCA is present – or even possible – in the closure at all. David thought that explaining this to me was somewhat geeky, but to me, the geekier the better. I love all of the learning that comes with each wine I review and each winemaker I meet.
Thanks for the meeting, David. We really are partial to your wines. We know that our Operatives will, as well!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Dutton Ranch Vineyard in Sonoma’s Green Valley can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
The fragrance of red berries, cinnamon, vanilla and toast continue onto the palate framed in a well-crafted structure of tannin and acid, suitable for aging, or immediate enjoyment. An excellent example of the what the Green Valley region of the Russian River Valley can do.
How We Make Our Pinots:
The vintner ‘raises the wine’ using traditional techniques. We hand select the fruit in the vineyard and punch down our fermenters manually, as often as every two hours during the peak of fermentation. Pressed just before dryness, the wine finishes fermentation in barrels from the Mercurey and Meyriuex cooperages, small houses in Burgundy, whose oak selection, as well as seasoning and toasting techniques, bring forth the high flavor ideal for softly composed pinots. “Wines made with minimal handling develop a lovely complexity,” says Dave. “We make every attempt to limit our techniques to those proved through generations of traditional winemaking.”
We feel privileged to be one of a diverse group of wineries to secure fruit from the Dutton family vines. For two generations the Duttons have grown apples, and now grapes, in the Green Valley area near Russian River. The 2005 derives mainly from Thomas Road, just NW of Graton which provides the typical Green Valley warmth, fruit and toasted earthiness, while Freestone, a very cool site, gives color and intensity. A small amount from Morelli Lane, located just above the town of Occidental adds a touch of grace and ripe red cherry fruit.
The 2005 Russian River, Dutton Ranch opens with the inviting fragrance of ripe red berries and deeper notes of darker fruits, these aromas supported by a complex mix of cinnamon, vanilla and toast derived from new barrels and long aging on the yeast lees. In the mouth the wine explodes with flavor. Enjoyable now, the wine’s acid and tannin structure promise excellent development over the next 5 to 10 years of age.
The Vintage and Winemaking:
Sonoma County Pinot Noir benefited from a generally cool growing season in 2005 with consequent bright fruit flavor, good acidity and complex aromatics. Following fermentation in small 2-3 ton fermenters with frequent punch-downs during the peak 48 hours of fermentation, we pressed just before dryness and allowed the fermentation to finish in barrels. Fermentation temperatures peak well above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, ensuring good color extraction and early pressing to barrel softens the wine’s finish. By January we had selected the more intense lots for our Russian River, Dutton Ranch selection and after combining continued barrel aging until early August.
About The Winery:
I founded DAVID NOYES WINES to fulfill my life-long dream to provide wines that connect us to the natural world, to winemaking traditions, and that provide tangible expressions of the mysteries of time, place and transformative experience. More specifically, (and less poetically), my wines provide unique expressions of pinot noir and other varietals from selected Sonoma County vineyards. My winemaking techniques are selected to minimize handling and maximize the individuality, flavor and balance of each lot.
My winemaking career began in the cellar at Ridge Vineyards in 1970, between then and now I’ve worked in Monterey, Mendocino, Livermore, France and Sonoma Valley. In 1989 I began work with the Kunde family to create Kunde Estate Winery; I started my own label in 2001, and in 2006 left Kunde to devote myself entirely to DAVID NOYES WINES.
DAVID NOYES WINES consists of myself, my wife Grace, and our generous family and friends. We produce small lots of pinot noir, zinfandel, chardonnay and tocai friulano from selected Sonoma County vineyards located in the Russian River, Dry Creek, and Sonoma Valleys. These wines express the character of the vineyard, vintage, and my own esthetic judgment, informed through over 30 years of experience in the creation of noteworthy, well-regarded, premium wines; they offer distinct personality, balance and an excellent complement to fine cuisine.
WINEMAKING STYLE – My wines are meant to accompany food; neither wine nor food need overpower the palate to provide an overwhelming experience! The aim is for a ‘rich, balanced style’, full-flavored wines that express the best of our California fruit, yet do not overwhelm with alcohol, extract or oak. I find such wines offer more individual expression, better pairings with food and more personality.
GRACE NOYES, WOW – As the Wife of Winemaker (WOW), I am privileged to meet great folks, drink awesome wines, and eat wonderful food, in short, to have fun with my clever winemaker husband and our dynamic friends and family. Dave makes acclaimed wines and I, as WOW, provide humor and whimsy to keep us from taking ourselves too seriously. Over 96.5% I know about the enjoyment, making and marketing of wine I learned after meeting Dave in 1995.
I practice chiropractic in the Sonoma Valley, having graduated from Palmer College on Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa in 1978. Donna Nassar, D.C. was my name before I married Dave in 1997. Besides my WOW and DC hats, I often don other hats including; wedding minister, artist and writer.
Production: 462 case
TA: 0.58g/100 ml