Michael Forrest Winery
2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
California: Sonoma County: Sonoma Coast
What We Say
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Mission Codename: Collaborative Concoction
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Acquire the inaugural release Pinot Noir from Michael Forrest Winery.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Michael Forrest Winery
Wine Subject: 2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Winemaker: Kent Barthman
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 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir very well.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Light, clear and luminescent ruby red with garnet hues. Pink-ruby at the edges and when swirled, slow medium thick legs creep down the side of the glass.
Smell – Medium in intensity with aromas of tart cherry and other red fruits layered over complex notes of spice, a tanginess reminiscent of tamarind, light vanilla toast and oak. As this wine evolves in the glass notes of smoke, licorice and a touch of earthy bramble emerge.
Feel – Tangy and tart that softens as it opens. This medium-bodied wine is dry with medium tannins and bright acidity.
Taste – Flavors of both ripe and tart cherries along with other red fruits are elegantly layered over notes of floral violets, earthy bramble, spice, toasted vanilla oak and hints of smoke and root-beer.
Finish – This wine finishes clean and of medium length with lingering flavors of its spice, oak and fruit that becomes almost creamy in texture.
Conclusion – The inaugural release from Michael Forrest Winery is a classic Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. With bright aromas and flavors that are both well integrated and complex in nature, this wine shows both finesse and elegance. And perhaps best of all this wine has easy drinking style and begs to be paired with food.
The call came in late last Tuesday night. I was just dozing off after coming off of a long mission.
Sleepily, I answered the phone, “Hullo?”
“Red, it’s Z. Dead Drop Zeta. 0100 hours.”
With that, the connection clicked and there was silence.
Z is a deep cover operative, working in a senior position at Starry Night Winery, a winery that produces wines that have been wildly popular with our in-house agents and our Operatives.
I pulled on a jumpsuit and headed out. I’d have minutes to spare, but a little extra speed would get me there on time.
It was raining, as it had been for nearly a week. This has made meeting like this a wet affair, but I was happy for the vineyards. The rains were much needed.
I parked across from the designated drop and spotted a cloaked figure walking briskly through the park where our drop had been established long ago. The lone figure tossed a small bundle into a trash can and kept walking.
Since the park was empty at this time of the morning, I decided not to wear any sort of disguise. As casually as one could pick through a garbage can, I did – and I retrieved the bundle.
Rather than wait until I was back at my lair, opened the bundle, tearing away the neatly wrapped brown paper that surrounded it. Inside was an unlabeled bottle, two photographs and the following note:
Agent Red: I am writing to alert you to a secret project here at the winery. We have formed a clandestine alliance with winemaker Kent Barthman. Our plan is to craft small lot, premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, made from grapes from some of the most renowned vineyards. These wine will be spectacular.
You are, in fact, now in possession of Bottle #1 of our Michael Forrest Pinot Noir. The alliance has decided to allow The Wine Spies to smuggle a small quantity of the wine to your Operatives who will, no doubt, appreciate the balance and great character of the wine.
We’re trusting you and your Operatives to keep the wine under wraps. Please don’t allow this wine to fall into enemy hands. They’ll figure out ways to get their hands on some, soon enough.
With heart racing, I quickly returned back to my safe house to evaluate the wine. En route, I alerted my fellow agents. They joined me in time to enjoy the newly decanted wine. We all loved it and we made special arrangement with Z to bring you a limited quantity of the wine for today’s special offering.
If you’ve enjoyed Starry Night’s wines in the past – or if you just love great, hand-crafted specialty Pinot Noir – then this wine will be a sure hit.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
The wine is medium dark Garnet in color leading to a highly aromatic nose of bright cherry, strawberry and a hint of oak. The entry is supple on the palate with a lush, full mid palate. The wine is sensual and extremely well balanced with a persistent finish of cherries, strawberries and toast. Winemaker – Kent Barthman
The grapes for this wine come from beautiful vineyards located on the edge of the Carneros wine region. This growing region is influenced by the cooling effect of the Pacific Ocean and a combination of summer fog, warm days, and a long growing season.
Our 2007 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir comes from a vineyard overlooking San Pablo Bay. Warm summer days followed by cool foggy nights contributed to a wine that is rich in color, aromas and flavors including cherries, strawberries and plum, with a slight hint of oak. Aged in European oak for 10 months, our production of this wine was approximately 700 cases.
About The Winery:
Michael Forrest Winery is dedicated to making small production Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from select, premium vineyards in order to showcase the regions where these varietals are best grown.
The Inauguration of a New Winery:
I am pleased to announce that this month we will be launching a new brand, Michael Forrest Winery, which is focused on small production Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Michael Forrest Winery is a collaboration between myself and well known winemaker Kent Barthman. Kent was previously the winemaker at Rutherford Hill, Taft Street and Carey Cellars and is currently the consulting winemaker at Salvestrin Wine Co. in St. Helena and Monarchia Winery in Eger, Hungary. Kent has also had winemaking positions with Far Niente, Chateau St. Jean and Charles Krug, among others.
In 2007, we produced Pinot Noir from Paradise Vineyard (700 case production) in the Sonoma Coast appellation and Miron Vineyard (135 case production) in the Russian River Valley. We also produced a Chardonnay from Saralee Vineyard (225 case production) in the Russian River Valley. The Sonoma Coast Pinot and Russian River Valley Chardonnay will be the first releases and the Miron Pinot will be released after the first of the year.
Many of you are probably wondering where we came up with the name for the winery. While we have toyed with the idea of creating the Michael Forrest persona as a world renowned, filthy rich entrepreneur and bon vivant who occasionally calls us from his Citation, the more boring truth is that it is the combination of Kent’s’ and my middle names. Nevertheless, feel free to embellish.
This year we are sticking with the same three vineyards and have already brought in the Sonoma Coast Pinot. The other two vineyards will be picked within the next few weeks and next year we will add a few more vineyards (all small production). Thus far we have had lots of fun with this project and look forward to sharing the wines with you.
Appellation: Sonoma Coast
Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir
Harvest: September 7, 2007
Brix at Harvest: 25.1º
TA: .59 g/100ml
Aging: 10 months in 40% new oak; 100% French and Hungarian barrels.