2005 Pinot Noir
California: Sonoma County: Sonoma Coast
What We Say
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Mission Codename: Pinot Num Num
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Investigate the claim that Peter Cellars, the winery with the name that makes us laugh, makes a stellar Pinot Noir. If true, secure a cache for our Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Peter Cellars
Wine Subject: 2005 Pinot Noir
Winemaker: Peter Mauel
When a Wines Spies field asset tipped us off that a winery in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley was reported to have created a fantastic Sonoma Coast Pinot we wasted no time. Agent Red was dispatched immediately . Read his tasting profile and following mission report to see how today’s wine holds up to the hype.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Light ruby red with perfect clarity, concentrated color to its pink edges, and an ultra-tight surface that quickly settles to perfectly still when swirled, leaving behind ultra-skinny legs that move quickly down the glass
Smell – Deeply aromatic with a rich nose of candy apple, frash strawberry, sweet cherry, soft leather, subtle cigar box, truffle and a great rush of California-classic gunpowder
Feel – Feather-light, velvet-smooth and slightly round, this wine starts cool and soft and then warms slowly as medium tannins take hold all over the mouth
Taste – Delicious! This wine presents bright layer upon layer of fruit and spice with cherry, leather, strawberry, gunpowder, sage and gunpowder
Finish – This wine has a fine polished finish that starts big and flavorful with a sweet-tartness and fresh fruit – but then turns soft, rich, and slightly dry
Conclusion – This is another deeply impressive Pinot Noir from California’s Sonoma Coast, a region that continues to impress us with its quality wines. This Pinot has a fantastic and very unique mouth-feel, deep layers of aromas, great flavors, and a delicious finish that keeps you going back for more. Enjoy this wine on its own or with almost any food you throw its way. Its balance and acidity make it easy to pair with rich meat dishes or strong cheeses
I arrived at the chateau and walked towards the reception. Masseur, please head down to the cellar, your party is waiting for you. I was being overly cautious. I had instructed Kato to keep me on my toes. Us spies can never be too careful, and the best way to stay on top in the game was to practice.
Heading downstairs, I arrived at the cellar door. To my surprise, the door was open, but the inside appeared dark. I carefully pushed open the door trying not to make it squeak. Well, so much for that plan. Turning on the lights revealed a beautifully stocked cellar with all the amenities. But nobody in site… Only a bird cage with a large white cockatoo inside. At the bottom of the cage were the remnants of corks that had been chewed by the bird.
Puzzled, I looked around, bottle after bottle of fine wines, Burgundies, Bordeaux, Barolos and Amarone a plenty. My contact, however was no where in site… I racked my brain, knowing that the meeting was here.
Finally, a thought came to mind. Knowing that Peter Mauel was somewhat of a character, I started searching for a trap door, or a passage behind one of the wine racks. No luck. Immediately my attention focused on the bird.
I walked up to it asked “Want a cracker?”
The bird responded “Birdie wants a Pinot!”.
“You want a what?”, I queried…
“Birdie wants a Pinot…” it clacked.
“Pinot Num Num?”, I said.
“Birdie likes Pinot Num Num…clack”, just then a panel at the back of the cellar opened and out walked Peter Mauel with a bottle of his 2005 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and two glasses.
“Very good Agent Red, you’ve passed my first test.”, he said smartly, now for the wine…
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
This wine is made in a classic Burgundian style, layer upon layer of red fruits such as morello cherry, wild forest strawberry, it’s perfectly balanced, complex and medium bodied. Soft as satin on the palate with rich fruit flavors of cherry and strawberry and hints of truffles and tobacco.
The Sonoma Coast appellation is the largest and coolest in Sonoma County and perfectly suited or Pinot Noir, producing fruit with spectacular color and flavor development due to the lingering, morning fog and coolocean breezes. This wine is made in a classic Burgundian style, layer upon layer of red fruits such as morello cherry, wild forest strawberry, it’s perfectly balanced, complex and medium bodied. Soft as satin on the palate with rich fruit flavors of cherry and strawberry and hints of truffles and tobacco. This Pinot will provide a good counterpoint to a fine roast leg of Lamb or Goose or simply on its own. It will age gracefully, gaining additional complexity with patient cellaring.
Our Pinot Noir comes from a single vineyard on the eastern side of the Sonoma Coast Appellation, the 2005 Harvest represented the eighth leaf for this vineyard. Clonal selection was a key factor in selecting this vineyard, the Vineyard contains Pommard, and Dijon clones 115 and 777, creating a wonderful balance of fruit flavors. Wines from this Vineyard have achieved 97 points in the Wine spectator. Trellising on this vineyard is 8×6. Yields are managed for Peter Cellars to 2.5 tons an acre. Even though this is our Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir we are assessing whether this vineyard will become our first single vineyard designate.
About The Winery:
Peter Cellars was started by Peter Mauel in 2005 based on a commitment to produce high quality wines that combine the unique terroir and fruit characteristics of Northern California with traditional French wine making techniques. Being from the United Kingdom and spending a significnant amount ot time in both the Burgundy and Bordeaux regions of France, Peter begun to develop an understanding of how different techniques and styles utilized in both the vineyard and the cellar could impact the style of the finished wine. From these experiences Peter developed his own clear winemaking philosophy and style. Upon moving to California in the early nineties and assisting various crushes with people with experience at some of Sonoma’s and Napa’s top wineries, Peter decided to get more seriously involved. In addition to spending more time in the Cellar, Peter attended UC Davis, California and successfully completed his Winemakers Degree. In 2005 Peter started to scour the Sonoma Coast and Sonoma Valley appellations for vineyard fruit sources and also to identify a location to make wine. The Peter Cellars journey had begun.
Yields were 2 tons per acre. The grapes were picked, gently destemmed and fermented in small, 3/4 ton open-top fermenters in separate lots of Dijon 777 and Pommard clones Total skin contact averaged 21 days (a 7 day cold soak, 7+ days fermentation and 2 day extended maceration)
Harvest: Late September
Fermentation: All separate lots, 1/3 native, 1/3 RC212 and 1/3and one third with Assmanhausen yeast
Aging: French oak. 50% new Coopers, Cadus, Damy Dargaud Jaegle and Mercurey
TA: 6.0 g/L
Production: 200 cases