93 Points - Wine Advocate, Robert Parker
The 2012 Pinot Noir Fort Ross Vineyard has notes of black raspberries, kirsch, baking spices, subtle earth and a hint of gravel-like minerality. The wine has terrific fruit on the attack and mid-palate, medium to full body, and a long finish. This is a beauty to drink over the next decade.Early - Drink 2016-2026
Provided by Fort Ross:
OVERVIEW From our mountain vineyard that overlooks the Sonoma Coast in the Fort Ross-Seaview American Viticultural Area, Fort Ross Vineyard & Winery produces limited quantities of single vineyard, Estate grown, cool-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinotage. With spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean less than one mile away, the vineyard is divided into 32 separate blocks, one-half to two acres in size, that range in elevation from 1700 down to 1200 feet above sea level. Owners, Lester and Linda Schwartz and their small crew began preparing the 55 acre vineyard in 1994. It took them 4 years of preparation before they could begin planting. The year 2000 marked the first vintage from the Fort Ross Vineyard.
VINTAGE The 2012 vintage got off to a very slow start. It was cold and wet throughout the spring so the buds did not swell until surprisingly late in the season. As budbreak was so late, the weather was generally warm and stable during bloom – except for one worrying rainy day that did not affect the crop – only our composure. With such a late start to the vintage, there was less time left to ripen the grapes so we dropped a fair amount of fruit early on so that each vine would have less fruit to ripen and the harvest would not stretch on into inclement weather. The season veered between cold and extreme heat. We harvested when the weather was cooler and we were very satisfied with the high quality of the fruit.
WINEMAKING The grapes for this Pinot Noir were handpicked during the cool hours of the night in 2 gallon trays. After hand sorting, the fruit was cold soaked for several days and fermented in a combination of 5 and 10 ton tanks. The caps were punched down 1 or 2 times per day, depending on the stage of the fermentation. The wines were then barreled in a combination of 25% new and 75% neutral French oak. Throughout the 10 months of barrel aging, the clones and different vineyard lots were kept separate to maintain their distinct flavor profiles and structural components as blending elements.
TASTING NOTES The dense garnet hue is prelude to the depth and complexity of this generous, full-bodied Pinot Noir. Enticing aromas of black raspberry and boysenberry harmoniously mingle with facets of violet, lavender and savory hints of sage. Exuberant black cherry, raspberry and bramble berries greet the palate followed by subtle notes of wild strawberry and spice. Refined, supple tannins and the Fort Ross Vineyard signature minerality are revealed through the layered, velvety finish. With its lively acidity and extraordinary balance this seductive Pinot Noir will elegantly evolve.
COMPOSITION: 100% Pinot Noir
APPELLATION: Fort Ross-Seaview, Sonoma Coast
ESTATE GROWN: Fort Ross Vineyard
SELECTIONS: Calera, Pommard & Dijon clones 115 & 777
AGING: 10 months in 100% French oak; 25% new
BOTTLING: Unfined & Unfiltered
HARVESTED: September 2-29, 2012
BOTTLED: August 2013
CASES PRODUCED: 1640 cases 750 ml
WINEMAKER: Jeff Pisoni
Alc. 13.8% By Vol.