Davis Bynum Winery

2005 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir •Allen Vineyard

California: Sonoma County: Russian River Valley

Offer Expired:Apr 28, 2009 at 11:59 pm
Avg. Price

What We Say


Today’s wine is not available anywhere but right here! Our friends at Davis Bynum generously granted us the exclusive! Get some if you can…


Today’s single vineyard Pinot Noir rates as comparable to those cult Pinot Noir that cost $100 or more per bottle and are only available once a year direct from the winery (unable to mention the hyphenated name, but if you love Pinot you know what we’re talking about).


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Mission Codename: Fallin’ for Allen

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Secure an exceptional Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Davis Bynum Winery

Wine Subject: 2005 Allen Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Winemaker: Gary Patzwald


The Russian River Valley, in Sonoma County, produces Pinot Noir of remarkable distinction. The cooler meritime conditions of the region make the RRV ideal for growing Pinot Noir. Davis Bynum’s extended focus on, and love for, the region means that their particular Pinot Noirs are beautifully crafted to reflect the best that the region has to offer.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Classic burgundy and garnet in color with ruby highlights that sparkle through its clear core. Garnet to pink along the edges with clusters of fat slow legs that ring the glass when swirled.

Smell – Complex and well developed with earthy and aromatic red and black cherry leading off with hints of ripe strawberry as well. Layer upon layer of herbal, floral rose petal, spice and gun-smoke aromas balanced over funky barnyard and mushroom notes. As this wine opens up hints of caramel emerge.

Feel – Luscious and soft, this medium-bodied dry wine is has ultra-fine medium tannins and medium-bright acidity that leaves a touch of tanginess that compliments the spice that hits on the sides and back of the palate.

Taste – Plush and fresh ripe red and black cherry flavors are flawlessly integrated with this wine’s earthy backbone. Hints of cola, spice, fresh herbs, citrus zest and gun-smoke add to the overall complex nature of this lovely Pinot.

Finish – Clean and long with earthy cherry and strawberry jam that fades slowly with notes of spice, citrus zest and lingering smokiness.

Conclusion – The 2005 Davis Bynum Allen Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir shows exceptional finesse and elegance with a distinct purity of fruit. Sweet and seductive aromas and flavors with a plush texture that makes this wine an excellent example of how great Russian River Valley Pinot Noir can be. Compare this wine to wines from the same vineyard that cost upwards of $100-150 and can only be acquired by special allocation.

Mission Report:

Below is a recap of our first encounter with Davis Bynum Wines by Agent Red and Dr. Pinot.

For today’s mission, I called upon Dr. Pinot, a trusted asset with a nose for sleuthing great Pinot Noir.

I was given three single vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs, and I needed to pick the best one for today’s wine offering.

Each of the wines was placed in a paper bag, concealing their true identities. We mixed them up and then proceeded to taste through them. Interestingly, the wines progressed from lighter in stye to darker and more rich. The middle wine – today’s wine – was the clear winner, exhibiting the best all-around balance of the three.

A hearty thanks to Dr. Pinot for helping me to choose today’s wine. What follows is the possibly-true story of Dr. Pinot’s own personal encounter with today’s wine:

Doctor Pinot Goes Kayaking

The Russian River was higher than normal for this time of the year due to the late spring rains, making for a quick float down stream from Healdsburg. Padding over to a flat spot at the base of a steep bank, on the back side of what was now considered by some in the area to be the holy grail of Russian River vineyard sites, Doctor Pinot jumped into the shallows, and secured his kayak on the rocky beach.

Reaching into his boat, opening the hatch to the watertight stowage compartment, he pulled out a bottle from an old friend. A friend who used to cajole him each harvest to come back from his station in some unknown, godforsaken place, to decompress by helping with that year’s winemaking at his new Northwest Sonoma County winery project. His friend, Davis Bynum, journalist turned winemaker was great at shaking hands with the growers in the area, and securing fruit from the best vineyard sites in the Russian River AVA for his famed single vineyard Pinot Noirs.

Doctor Pinot opened his treasured bottle of 2005 Davis Bynum Widdoes Vineyard Pinot Noir, from a 23 acre block planted more than 20 years ago, and farmed since by another friend, Warren Dutton: a site he knew well, located in a very cool section of the Green Valley, on Astascadero Creek, between Graton and Occidental. Planted to the Beringer clone, this dry farmed, cool site consistently produced Pinot Noirs with balance and concentration.

Opening the bottle, and pouring the wine into his Reidel “O” glass, Doctor Pinot tasted and closed his eyes as the wine took him back to his college days working as a vendangeur at Etienne Sauzet’s property in Puligny-Montrachet. This wine had a ‘somewhereness’. This land, this place had made its mark, exhibiting aromas of earth and hillside redwood forest floor, layered with vanilla and smoke, that soon evolved into flavors of orange peel, late summer raspberries, wild strawberries and cocoa. Doctor Pinot, normally quiet, but never at a loss for words, could only think of one at this moment in time … WOW!

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The approximate location of the Allen Vineyard in the Russian River Valley region can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

About This Wine:

Davis Bynum pinot noir is driven by vineyard sites. From the legendary Allen vineyard between the river itself and Westside Road – adjacent to Rochioli – this pinot noir is redolent of dried cherry, herb and cola aromas, with a soft mouthfeel and bold flavors of cherry, earth, and orange zest which carry brightly to the finish.

Gary’s Vision – “Winemaking in Russian River Valley is a true pleasure. No other region outside of Burgundy stamps as distinct a signature on pinot noir and chardonnay. I see my job as winemaker to naturally guide the fruit through the fermentation process, maturing the wine in the fi nest French oak barrels, all the while retaining the authentic flavors of the region.” Gary Patzwald, Winemaker

About The Winery:

Davis Bynum is distinguished as the first winery to produce a single vineyard pinot noir from the Russian River Valley. The vintage was 1973 and the grapes were from Joe Rochioli’s now prized vineyard. Today, more than thirty years later, the heritage of Davis Bynum lives on through the hand crafted creation of pinot noir and chardonnay grown exclusively in Russian River Valley.

As the first winery on Westside Road in Healdsburg, California, Davis Bynum was the first to produce a single vineyard pinot noir from the Russian River Valley. The vintage was 1973 and the grapes were from Joe Rochioli’s now prized vineyard. Today, more than thirty years later, the heritage of Davis Bynum lives on through the hand crafted creation of pinot noir and chardonnay grown exclusively in Russian River Valley.

Davis Bynum first flirted with winemaking at home in Berkeley when he was a young reporter working at the San Francisco Chronicle. It was 1951 and he purchased a small amount of petite sirah from Robert Mondavi. Things became a bit more serious in 1965 when he transformed a warehouse in Albany into a small winery, where he made wine using knowledge gained from the extensive library at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1971 Bynum purchased a 26-acre vineyard in Napa Valley with the intention to build a winery. Restrictions on construction in the area led him away from that venture and into Sonoma County in 1973, where he found an 84-acre piece of land that quickly became Davis Bynum Winery.

Davis established a quality reputation for the winery, in large part due to solid relationships with the local community of growers. Grapes from great vineyards, often based on hand-shake agreements, along with “intuitive winemaking”, as he refers to it, led the winery to become synonymous with distinctive Russian River Valley pinot noirs and chardonnays. Eventually, acclaim for Bynum wines, along with other area producers, won Russian River Valley recognition as one of the worlds’ very best for these varieties.

In August 2007, ready to retire from the day-to-day activities of running a winery, Davis sold the winery to Tom Klein and the Klein family, a fourth generation California farming family. The focus on Russian River Valley remains the same and the goal to produce excellent chardonnay and pinot noir is unchanged. Bynum agreed to stay with the brand for three years, providing insight and support.

Technical Analysis:

VARIETAL: 100% Pinot Noir

APPELLATION: Russian River Valley

FERMENTATION DETAILS: Cluster sorted, cool fermentation

OAK AGING: Aged 10 months in 100% French oak barrels

pH: 3.66

TA: 0.65 g/100mL

ALC. BY VOL.: 14.5%

PRODUCTION: 346 cases

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