What We Say 2006 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
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SUPERIOR WINE ALERT!
Today’s wine deserves a special special alert. This is a bright and delicious wine that is great now, and will continue to age beautifully. If you have never tasted an Inman wine…
Mission Codename: All in the family
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Revisit Inman Family Wines and secure their latest Pinot Noir
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Inman Family Wines
Wine Subject: 2006 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Winemaker: Kathleen Inman
The Russian River Valley in California’s Sonoma County is known for producing incredible Pinot Noir. For today’s elegant and food friendly wine, Kathleen Inman had the singular goal of creating a wine that was the perfect expression of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Mission accomplished, Kathleen! Read Agent Red’s tasting notes, followed by his interview with Kathleen Inamn, below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Clear with a dark ruby and purple robe and a dark core. Garnet to pink hued edges with thin legs that cascade down the edge of the glass when swirled.
Smell – Classic and balanced Pinot aromas of black cherry, exotic spices, earthy notes and a hint of gun-smoke and cocoa. Once this wine opens up a touch of wild anise and caramel mix with the smokey and earthy aromas.
Feel – Soft and elegant in its initial attack, this medium-bodied wine has fine medium tannins and a slightly acidic tanginess.
Taste – Soft and balanced fruit lead off with ripe and tart cherries and backed by toasted vanilla and oak. This wine has a great spice component reminiscent of allspice that compliments its earthly and floral elements.
Finish – Clean and smooth with lingering flavors of tart cherry, cranberry, oak and spice.
Conclusion – This wine strikes a classic balance between new-world Russian River and old-world Burgundy flavors and aromas. With an easy and elegant feel and soft feminine flavors, this wine is a joy to drink. Its tangy acidity lends itself well to pairing with a wide variety of food.
With the 2008 harvest mostly behind her, Kethleen Inman was able to find a few minutes to speak with me about today’s superb wine, her Russian River Pinot Noir. What follows is a transcript of our brief discussion:
AGENT RED: Hi Kathleen. Thanks for taking this meeting with me.
KATHLEEN INMAN: Now that things have settled down – a bit – its
my pleasure to meet with you again.
RED: Let me start off by telling you that we love your 2006 Pinot Noir.
KATHLEEN: Its a special wine!
RED: In doing our background checks on the wine, we discovered that this is the same wine that was selling under a different name. Specifically, the Inman Family wine was also called Meredith.
KATHLEEN: You guys really do your homework!
RED: Well, we are spies after all. We actually managed to get our hands on a bottle of the Meredith and we conducted an analysis. We found that, other than the name on the label – and the physical composition of the label, the wines are identical.
KATHLEEN: Yes, the Meredith was released February of this year, on the birthday of my daughter, Meredith! The wine was sold to help raise funds for the Santa Rosa Youth Orchestra. Meredith plays French horn for the orchestra! And, she helped in the making of the wine. Its a special wine on so many levels.
RED: Excellent. Given the extra time in bottle of [today’s wine], what should fans of the Meredith expect?
KATHLEEN: Well, the wine was ready to drink then, but with almost 10 months of additional aging, they will find a wine that is smoother and more balanced.
RED: That’s great news, because the Meredith has gotten some very positive reviews.
KATHLEEN: It was a great wine then and its a better wine now, to be sure. We’re really flattered by the great reviews.
RED: We noticed something unusual about this wine, its label is not made of paper!
KATHLEEN: That’s right! I am trying to go as green as possible with the winery, making changes wherever possible. That means no more metallic lettering on my bottles and even paperless labels. The label for this wine is made of bamboo, sugarcane and cellulose.
RED: We applaud your efforts. We spies run as green as we can!
KATHLEEN: All of the little differences make a big difference!
RED: This wine marks something of a departure for your Pinot Noir. Tell me little about that.
KATHLEEN: I wanted to move away from a single vineyard designate wine and create a wine that really was a great expression of out Russian River Valley appellation. I achieved this by combining fruit from my own estate vineyards and also from Thorn Vineyard.
RED: Thorn Pinot Noir is world famous. Nice score! Not only did you combine fruit, but you also worked arduously to blend from different barrel lots from these two vineyards, correct?
KATHLEEN: Wow! Where do you get your information! That’s right. This wine comes from 5 different lots.
RED: The process of selection must be complex and very time-consuming! Does this add a great deal of time to the process of making a wine?
KATHLEEN: Yes, and effort as well. In the end, however, it was well worth every ounce of effort. The result is a wine that is the perfect expression of RRV Pinot Noir. With cherry cold, mild spices and a velvety texture, this wine turned out beautifully. It is a complete and very approachable wine. Delicious, too!
RED: I concur!
With that, Kathleen got up from the table, reached into her attache. She produced a manila folder, set it on the talble, slid it across to me, smiled, and walked away.
Admiring the spyness of this I smiled broadly as I grabbed up the folder. I opened it and found this inside:
“Agent Red: Thanks for the covert meeting. As a special treat for your Operatives, please share this top secret recipe with them. – Kathleen”
Truffled Red Wine Risotto with Parmesan Broth
This is one of my favorite dishes to have at Cyrus, and I was delighted that Chef Douglas Keane has shared it!
2 Caranoroli Rice
1/2 small onion, minced fine
1 clove garlic, pasted
2 Pinot Noir
1 qt. Veal Stock
6 oz. White Truffle Butter
2 TB. Red Ver Jus
2 TB. Parsley, finely chopped
1 Chives, minced fine
Salt and Pepper to Taste
In a non-reactive pan, melt butter. Add bouquet Garni (2 sprigs parsley stems, 4 sprigs thyme, 2 bay leaves 1 tsp Black Peppercorns, 1 tsp Fennel Seed, (Wrap tightly in cheesecloth. Secure with butchers twine), onion and garlic. Sweat until onion and garlic are completely soft with no color. Add rice and stir (use a heat resistant rubber spatula or a strong wooden spoon) to coat evenly with butter. Add wine, season with a little salt, and let reduce until completely absorbed. Add stock several ladles at a time. Continue to add stock until rice is almost cooked through (approximately 20 minutes on low heat). When rice is just cooked through add all of the truffle butter, parsley and chives and ver jus. Season with salt and pepper and place in warm bowls. The rice should be extremely creamy but still emulsified. For the Parmesan Broth : 2 tbs butter, 1 onion, small diced, 1 leek, chopped (white part only), 1 garlic, head, cut in half, 1 fennel, small diced, 2 tsp tomato paste, 3 sprigs thyme, 3 sprigs parsley, 3bl. Parmesan Rinds, Water to cover. Sweat onion, leeks, garlic and fennel in butter until soft. Add tomato paste and cook until a fond begins to form on the bottom of the pot. Cover vegetables with water and add an extra inch of water. Add Parmesan Rinds, thyme and parsley. Bring to a hard boil. Simmer for two hours. Strain through a fine chinois and reduce by half. Season with salt if necessary. Bring Parmesan Broth to a boil and add 1 Tbs of cold butter and blend with a hand blender. Spoon foam off the top of risotto and sauce around the risotto. Serve immediately. Top with fried garlic chips as garnish.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Inman Family OGV Estate Vineyard can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Inman Family Wines
About This Wine:
Our youngest daughter, Meredith was the inspiration for our new Russian River Valley blend. It was great fun creating this wine because on several occasions Meredith helped me in the winery during her spring and summer holidays. We have decided to associate this wine with two causes, and in line with that, there are two labels for this one wine lot.
The first is philanthropic. These bottles have a special label with Meredith’s name. This label is only available through our website and directly from the winery. Ten percent of the profits will go to music education charities. Since its release on Meredith’s birthday in February, our customers have helped us donate over $10,000 to the Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra to launch their fundraising drive for a 2009 European Tour.
The second label will be the one which is for the less philanthropic and more self serving cause of contributing to Meredith’s college fund! This label is made from tree-free stock and has been printed using eco friendly inks. We have also discontinued the use of foil on this label, and going forward, all Inman Family labels will be printed using stocks and inks which have minimal environmental impact.
Color: Deep ruby, garnet rim
Aroma: Sweet cherry, white chocolate, strawberry, fresh ginger and nutmeg
Flavor: The flavors echo the aromas with sweet cherry, strawberry, and vanilla. Secondary flavors include roasted meat and savory herbs, dried cranberries, caramel and baking spices – cloves, nutmeg and ginger. The texture is voluptous and fills your mouth while the acid perks up the taste buds and give the wine a “salivacious” quality. The finish is long and complex.
Harvest went very smoothly, for the most part, in 2006. Although many vineyards were badly affected by botrytis, our estate vineyard, Olivet Grange (clones 114, 115, 667 and 777) had very little rot and what little there was, was removed when the grapes were still on the vine. Vintage 2006 was the first time we had purchased fruit from our friend Ted Klopp’s Thorn Road Ranch which is in the Sebastopol hills. This steep vineyard is planted to several different clones and we are allocated Pommard, Swan, 667 and 777 from both the upper and lower ranches on this steep, eastern facing vineyard.
Our Russian River Valley blend was created from lots of Olivet Grange (58%) and Thorn Road (42%) which were picked on September 19, 25, 27 and October 2. The entire October 2 pick formed the back bone for the blend; none of that late pick was used in the 2006 OGV Pinot Noir. All of the lots were destemmed and fermented in open-top 5-ton stainless steel tanks. The various lots were cold soaked for 4 days and during the fermentation they were punched down three times daily, with the exception of the Thorn Road lot, which suffered badly from botrytis. The Thorn fruit was fermented more quickly and the must was adjusted with water, acid and nutrients because of the botrytis, which is not our normal protocol, but one I felt was required for a successful fermentation. The Thorn also received one daily pump over and two punch downs. The lots were all pressed off when dry and aged in a combination of new, one year and two year old barrels. Because of the blending to tank in February 2007 and the return to different barrels, the exact new oak ratio is not possible, but approximately 50% of the wine’s 11 month elevage was in new French Oak – Sirugue, Billon, Remond and Mercurey. The wines were kept on their lees, even after blending, and stirred weekly between October and February and every other week until they were moved to tank for bottling. The wines were filtered by crossflow and bottled on August 21, 2007.
About The Winery:
At Inman Family Wines we handcraft small lots of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir . The estate wines reflect the unique imprint of our Olivet Grange Vineyard, located amidst some of Sonoma County’s and the Russian River Valley’s most respected vineyards. We are committed to quality from grape to glass – from our environmentally sensitive, organic and sustainable viticultural practices to our attention to detail in the winemaking.
Our dream has been to grow and produce balanced wines that complement and enhance food and conversation. Whether you enjoy our wines in one of the many fine restaurants serving Inman Family wines or buy them online, we invite you to share our dream. We are now open for private tastings by appointment, so please contact us if you are in the neighborhood.
Production: 1024 cases 750ml & 69 1.5L bottles