2006 Reserve Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir •Nunes Vineyard
California: Sonoma County: Russian River Valley
What We Say
UNIQUE WINE ALERT:
Today’s exceptional Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is a Pinot with a style all its own. With flavors and aromas that may challenge your notion of Pinot, this wine is a delicious subject of serious inquiry here at Wine Spies H.Q.
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Mission Codename: Unlike any other
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Secure a unique Russian River Valley Pinot Noir for our variety-hungry Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Matrix Winery
Wine Subject: 2006 Reserve Pinot Noir Nunes Vineyard – Russian River Valley
Winemaker: Antoine Favero
Backgrounder: 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 the many of the vines having been first planted in the early 1900s. In today’s wine, Matrix Winery presents a wholly original take on Russian River Valley Pinot Noir by delivering a wine that is unlike any Russian River Pinot Noir you have tasted – and maybe even unlike any Pinot Noir you have _ever_tasted! Read Agent Red’s mission report and tasting noted below for the full intel on this very exciting wine
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark ruby with a solid core of darkest black cherry juice. Swirl this wine and you will note a tight and bouncy-looking surface that settles quickly. After a moment, skinny legs slowly make their way down the glass.
Smell – Dark and foreboding, with original aromas of smoky plum, darkest black cherry, smoked blackberry, spice and dried violets, with a warm dash of nutty (almond) earthen woodiness
Feel – Smooth, round and soft on the initial attack, ramping up to a medium-bodied feel and mouth coating fullness that slowly bites down with fine grained tannins
Taste – Well integrated with unique flavors of darkest mixed berry, smoky plum, dark chocolate and fresh forest floor
Finish – Ultra long, starting slightly tart and soft, then slightly dying with dark and sweet flavors, plus a soft minerality that shows up as flavors tail off slowly
Conclusion – If you found my tasting notes a little unusual for a Pinot Noir, you are right. Today’s wine challenges the notion of what you would expect from a Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Rather than light or bright with the characteristic fruit of an RRV Pinot, this wine stretches into territory that you might consider reserved for a rich Zinfandel or a big, gutsy Grenache. With darker flavors and aromas than we have ever tasted in a Pinot, this very complex and interesting wine had us sipping, sniffing, puzzling and discussing to to end. Make no mistake, this is a deep and delicious wine. It is also a very intriguing and beguiling wine that merits your attention. If you like to explore new frontiers of fine wine, this wine is an excellent choice.
Today we are pleased to bring you another great wine from Matrix Winery. What follows is a recap of our original mission to Matrix:
The voice was deep and soft, but with an ardent authority: “Unfortunately, no one can tell you what the Matrix is. You have to taste it for yourself. This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You taste the white wine – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You taste the red wine, the Matrix – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”
I stare at the two wine glasses in front of me and my vision eventually locks onto the man. Looking directly into his eyes, I reach for the glass of Matrix.
“Remember,” he says. “All I am offering you is the truth, nothing more.”
I raise the glass to my nose and inhale deeply. I am suddenly overcome by the myriad aromatic layers that the wine presents. The richness and realness of its fruit. I take a sip – and am stunned by the complexity and elegance of the wine. I look up and the room has changed. I am now sitting at a table in the middle of a vineyard. Looking around, I recognize the surrounding hills – and realize that I am in the Russian River Valley. In a flash of recognition, I realize that I am in the Matrix vineyards!
A crow lands on a nearby trellis. “Caw! Caw! Caw!”
“Beep Beep Beep Beep!”
The sound jolts me awake. This is not my wake up alarm. Rather, it is my snooze alarm! How long has it been sounding!? The time is 9AM and I am late for my rendezvous – to pick up the samples of the wine.
[ed. note: the middle section of this mission has been redacted, in order to protect the identities of confidential informants. Oh, and to make this report less boring, too.]
Mission prologue: Samples secured and tasting now completed (see my tasting notes above), I have contacted the winery through back channels and have secured the remaining cases of this rather amazing Bordeaux blend. Diane Wilson is already a hero of mine, and Antoine Favero’s wines have always pleased us here at Wine Spies HQ. Now, these two winemakers combine their formidable powers to deliver wines that absolutely thrill and delight us. Today’s wine shows beautiful depth, complexity, elegance and balance. Oh, and its delicious, too.
Which choice will you make? Will you enter the Matrix – or stick with ordinary wines? I _thought you’d choose the Matrix!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Matrix Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
2006 Reserve Nunes Vineyard Pinot Noir- This Pinot has aromatic expressions of violet and toasted almonds. Elegant yet firm, round and smooth. Youthful in nature with compliments of cherry cola, subtle floral spice, and summer ripe blackberries. A plush Pinot like this is simply delectable on its own but would be great company with your favorite grilled lamb chop recipe.
About The Winery:
Winemaker Antoine Favero wears many hats on any given day. He immediately captivates with his warm smile and sense of humor and an international bearing underpinned with a boyish charm that is engaging yet sophisticated. These traits serve him well in the role of winemaker, viticulturist and general manager.
Antoine honed his winemaking skills at several well-known wineries, including: Sebastiani where he focused on wine chemistry; Gundlach-Bundschu where he mastered the art of viticulture with vineyardist Phil Friese; Bartholomew Park where he specialized in Bordeaux varietals; and at Mazzocco Winery’s sister brand Wilson Winery, focusing on Rhone varietals and Zinfandels.
As a winemaker, Antoine believes wines are “nurtured” rather than “produced.” Antoine says that his favorite part of winemaking is making the wine out in the vineyards. To him, this means, making sure that what is grown will make the best wine, and that requires canopy management, watering regimes, etc. Antoine notes, “This is where our vineyard people are so important. Every year is different; when to pick determines the style of wine. You basically make the wine out there in the vineyard, and you just bring it in to nurture it. I love being grounded with nature in this way.”
Diane Wilson is the award-winning winemaker at Wilson Winery, which is the flagship winery in the growing assembly of small family wineries the Wilsons now own. A California native, Diane has put her hand to Cabernet, then Zinfandel, and now Pinot Noir. Diane’s awards include Best of Class in this years 2009 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Sweepstakes and Judge’s Choice winner at the 2007 National Women’s Wine Competition, and two Sweepstakes wins in a row at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair (2005 & 2006) for her extraordinary Dry Creek Valley Zinfandels .
Diane, a somewhat unorthodox winemaker who likes to think of what food pairing notes, “Ken and I had been growing grapes for several years and one of our contracts ran out, so we thought it was a good time to venture into making our own wines… and there is something very tempting about growing the grapes, picking them, and keeping them to make the wine and have a finished product; all the fruits of our own labor.” She loves the new style of Pinot Noirs, and having fun working with the Russian River Valley varietals that Matrix offers.
When Diane and Ken Wilson first visited the Dry Creek Valley, they fell in love with the patchwork of oaks, vineyards and expansive vistas. Today, their “collage” of low-yield hillside vineyards form a broad brushstroke across more than 250 acres of some of the most extraordinary sites in this renowned viticultural area. Diane and Ken Wilson are devoted to things they most value — family and friends — and are committed to the stewardship and sustainable farming of the Dry Creek Valley.
Now Antoine and Diane have joined forces and are sharing the duties at Matrix Winery. After mastering Dry Creek varietals, the two winemakers have turned their expertise to making Russian River Varietals. Their second release of Pinots include a Sonoma Coast, and two single vineyard designates Buoncristiani (and Buoncristiani Reserve) and the 2006 Nuñes, Russian River Valley and your prize today, the 2006 Reserve Nuñes, Russian River Valley.