2006 Estate Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir •Rhinefarm Estate Vineyard
California: Sonoma County: Sonoma Valley
What We Say
EXCLUSIVE LIBRARY RAID ALERT:
The Wine Spies were able to raid Gundlach Bundschu, and abscond with the final stores of their superb 2006 Estate Pinot Noir, a wine that is not even available through the winery’s own website! How do we do it? We could tell you but, you know…
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Mission Codename: The Old New Perfection
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Wine Spies favorite, Gundlach Bundschu, to raid the secret stash of their Library 2006 Pinot Noir. Procure all remaining cases for our GunBun-loving Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Gundlach-Bundschu
Wine Subject: 2006 Estate Pinot Noir
Winemaker: Jeff Bundschu
Backgrounder: It is no secret that The Wine Spies love Gundlach Bundschu wines. This unique Sonoma Valley winery recently celebrated it’s 150th anniversary, making it one of the oldest and most well-respected wineries in the state. We love them for their people and for their wines, both of which are a delightful mixture of old-world and audacious.
Today’s wine is a superior example of Pinot Noir, delivering bold yet balanced character, great flavors and a beautiful mouth feel.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Ruby red with perfect clarity through its heart. This wine shows off perfectly concentrated color, right out to it’s glinting ruby edges. It shows a soft, tight surface that, when swirled, settles quickly, leaving behind skinny legs that take a moment to appear before they march steadily down the glass
Smell – Big, bright red cherry, with lush raspberry, young blackberry, fresh earthen spice, subtle espresso, a hint of oak and flinty gunpowder
Feel – Round and tender at first sip, then ultra-plush tannins gradually show up, adding a gentle grippiness as it coats the mouth – drying the tongue, cheeks and the top of the palate
Taste – Rich, complex and balanced, with delicious Bing cherry, red plum, young strawberry and soft herbs, with mild hints of leather, earth, gunpowder and soft flint
Finish – Mouthwatering and flavor-filled, with plush fruit, soft spice with highlights of white pepper that all lead to a soft dryness that encourages you to take another big mouth-full
Conclusion – We had the great pleasure to feature GunBun’s fantastic 2005 Pinot Noir last year. Today’s wine, their 2006, is a remarkable wine that seems to improve upon the previous vintage. This wine invites experimentation, tempting you to take small sips and large gulps for a deliciously varied experience with the wine. With a softness that makes the wine lush and pleasurable on the palate, the wine is so lovely in the mouth. Flavors and aromatics are in harmony, offering your senses a delightfully well-rounded and deeply delicious drinking experience. This wine gets a BIG wine Spies recommendation today!
When we first infiltrated the Gundlach-Bundschu Winery in 2008, we came to recognize the passion that is apparent in each sip of their wonderful wines. Today, Gundlach-Bundschu is a Wine Spies favorite.
Below, you will find a recap of my first mission to Gundlach-Bundschu. First, however, I would like to provide you with an update on recent happenings at the Gundlach-Bundschu Winery.
Agent Green, our newest Wine Spies agent, heads up environmental initiatives for The Wine Spies. Green is keeps our operation in balance with the environment, and is always on the lookout for wineries that are employ or promote sustainable and renewable practices.
One of the wineries that caught Agent Green’s attention of late was, you guessed it, Gundlach-Bundschu. Back then, news of the planning and installation of an innovative new floating solar array had just been leaked to him by one of our moles at the winery, and Green even managed to intercept the following press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GUNDLACH BUNDSCHU INSTALLS FLOATOVOLTAIC™ SOLAR ARRAY
California’s oldest family-owned winery becomes first in Sonoma with floating solar-energy system
SONOMA, Calif. (December 2, 2008) – Gundlach Bundschu Winery capped off its 150th anniversary this year by installing two solar arrays on its Sonoma estate, including the first Floatovoltaic™ installation in Sonoma County, which was completed today.
Designed by Thompson Technology Industries (TTI) and installed by SPG Solar, Inc. of Novato, Calif., the 30-kilowatt Floatovoltaic system provides 100 percent of the power used by the winery’s water reclamation system. (A series of ponds and man-made wetlands filters all the winery waste water, ultimately recycling 70 percent for use in the vineyard.) This array consists of 162 Sharp solar panels on pontoons that float on one of the ponds, generating enough power to fully power the pumps, monitors and other electrical needs of the entire water reclamation system. Energy costs for water reclamation previously ran around $650 per month, but are now expected to range between $0 and $200 a year.
The second solar array at Gundlach Bundschu, which went live on November 20, 2008, is an 80-kilowatt ground-mounted system that provides 60 percent of the winery’s energy needs. Comprised of 450 Kyocera panels, it is expected to save the winery $15,000 annually. Evidence of its commitment to sustainability, Gundlach Bundschu pulled out 1.3 acres of five-year-old Dijon 667 pinot noir vines in July – an annual equivalent to $70,000 dollars’ worth of bottled Gundlach Bundschu wines – to install the system.
Sixth-generation vintner and Gundlach Bundschu President Jeff Bundschu is happy with this progress and will continue to actively look at every aspect of his business to promote conservation and eco-system health while producing the highest-quality wines.
“In addition to our existing practices in the vineyard and winery, including eliminating pesticides, using biodiesel, recycling water, reducing packaging and using recycled materials, the solar program is another important step in my family’s goal to become carbon neutral,” Bundschu said. The winery plans to eventually receive 100 percent of its energy needs from solar, according to Bundschu.
About Gundlach Bundschu
Celebrating its Sesquicentennial in 2008, Gundlach Bundschu is the oldest family-owned winery in California, currently run by the sixth generation of the Bundschu family. The 320-acre estate vineyard was christened Rhinefarm in 1858 by Jacob Gundlach, who started the winery with son-in-law Charles Bundschu. This remarkable site at the base of the Mayacamas Mountain Range is located literally at the crossroads of the Sonoma Valley, Carneros and Napa Valley appellations.
Gundlach Bundschu is open for tasting from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. The winery is located at
2000 Denmark Street, Sonoma, CA 95476
Sixth-generation vintner and president Jeff Bundschu is continually, actively looking at every aspect of his business to promote conservation and eco-system health while producing the highest quality wines. “In addition to our existing practices in the vineyard and winery — eliminating pesticides, using biodiesel, recycling water, reducing packaging and using recycled materials — the solar program is another important step in our family’s goal to eventually become carbon neutral.”
Agent Green says, “Jeff Bundschu, you are my hero!”
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Gundlach Bundschu Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Rich aromas of spiced red cherry, forest floor and dried rose petal with well-integrated notes of toast lead to broad flavors of raspberry, blackberry and red plum with complex minerality and spice. Elegantly structured, with the soft entry and round tannins balanced by a bright acidity, and long, lively finish.
Production Notes: 100% Pinot Noir. 11 vineyard blocks of Pinot Noir harvested in 15 winery lots. Heritage selection vines up to forty years old. Seven-year-old Pommard 5, Dijon 115, 667 and 777 clones. Night harvested by hand in 15 lots. Each lot processed separately based on distinct profile. Three to five day cold soak. Yeast strains RC212 and Assmanhausen. Concurrent primary and malolactic fermentation. Each lot fermented app. 9 days with twice-daily, gentle pump-overs. Pressed before dryness to complete fermentation in barrel. Base blend assembled four months before bottling. Final blend assembled two weeks before bottling. Lightly fined by lot and filtered to bottle. Bottled: January 2008.
Winemaker Notes: Will continue to improve with 3 to 7 years cellaring from vintage date.
About The Vineyard:
Rhinefarm Estate Vineyard Estate grown, produced and bottled Huichica clay-loam topsoil with light stream gravel deposits The 2006 growing season got off to a late, wet start on Rhinefarm, with bud break beginning at the end of March and generous rainfall late into the Spring. High soil moisture going into the growth period allowed the vines to develop large canopies that required vigilant taming to maintain ideal fruit-to-canopy ratios. A record-breaking heat wave in July helped put an end to vegetative growth and spurred the vines onto the business of ripening fruit. The harvest period was nearly perfect, and so in the end the fruit attained excellent phenolic maturity as well as nicely developed varietal characters.
About The Winery:
For 150 years we Bundschus have hiked, biked, fished, flown, sailed, surfed and otherwise explored the outdoors of Northern California and far beyond.
While we delight in adventure, two important things we’ve learned from our travels are, first, always carry a map, and second, there is nothing better than coming home. Even if you never set foot in Sonoma or get to smell the Watusi up close, we invite you to visit us anytime by simply pulling a cork.
About The Winemaker:
Jeff is no stranger to the lure of the vine-as a sixth generation California vintner, wine has been in his family since 1858. Bundschu was raised on the family estate in Sonoma and was working in the vineyards by the time he was 12 years old.
Like many of his family members before him, Bundschu is striving to redefine the estate vision to meet the industry challenges of the times. With superb vineyards and a talented team of employees, he is excited about the future of the estate. “Each generation of my family that has stood on this dirt felt compelled to looking at the vines and wines with a fresh eye. Our winery’s evolution is destined-families evolve. Land evolves. Plants evolve. Palates evolve.”
Equally important to Bundschu is the preservation of the open-minded and spirited culture with which the winery has long been associated. “Our life here at Gundlach Bundschu, with its wine and good people, has always been about laughter, hard work, enjoying the inspiration that comes from being in such a beautiful place, and sharing what we have with our friends and neighbors.”
When Keith Emerson joined Gundlach Bundschu Winery as winemaker in December 2008, it was a sort of homecoming. A 1999 graduate of University of California at Davis, he served as Gundlach Bundschu associate winemaker from 2000 to 2004. He returns to the estate with a honed vision and proven experience to match his passion for the site.
After earning his degree, Keith spent a year at Cakebread Cellars before joining Gundlach Bundschu. In 2004, he worked a harvest at Palliser Estate in Martinborough, New Zealand, before returning to Northern California and becoming Director of Winemaking for Vineyard 29 in St. Helena, CA.
At Vineyard 29, Keith works closely with consultant Philippe Melka on the estate and Aida wines and directs all aspects of winemaking for the CRU Napa Valley label. He also oversees the program for custom-crush clientele, including Andy Erickson and Celia Masyczek, and works with several respected growers, including David Abreu, Mike Wolf, Jim Barbour, Piña Vineyard Management and Silverado Farming Company, among others.
Keith also consults for Robert Craig and other esteemed wineries, and produces his own label of artisan cabernet sauvignon, Emerson Brown.
It is Keith’s experience with these diverse vineyards that has inspired his return to Gundlach Bundschu. “My goal as a winemaker is to tell the story of each vineyard site,” Emerson said. “I know the Gundlach Bundschu estate, and I believe strongly in its potential to produce stellar wines. I am extremely motivated to work with Jeff and the team to take these wines to the highest quality level.”
Wine Type: Medium Red Wine
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Appellation: Sonoma Valley
Harvest Date: September 12-20, 2006
Aging: 11 months in 100% French oak