Ancien Pinot Noir Russian River Jouissance is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
Jouissance is sourced from the single vineyard established and farmed by Mark Lingenfelder at his home estate. Mark’s decades of experience as a vineyard manager and consulting viticulturalist have provided him the depth of experience to reach the pinnacle at his own property. Having worked with storied wineries over the years, we are grateful our paths have crossed enabling us to work with him for our Russian River designate. He tends the vines himself while relying on neighbor Lee Martinelli to provide additional help at the peak times. We work with a mix of Pommard and Dijon 667 vines from his oldest and youngest blocks – aged wisdom combines with youthful vigor!
The 2021 growing season was a welcome success after a more varied and challenging 2020. The vines came on with aplomb, demonstrating the rich fruit concentration we expect – even if the crop was meager. The ongoing drought in California served to further accentuate the character and concentration of the fruit. While warmer conditions have prevailed in other areas, the coastal areas of California continue to benefit from the maritime influence and moderating influence that it brings.
We fermented in our one ton, open-top tanks after filling by gravity. A warm fermentation with a combination of native and isolated Burgundian yeasts produced excellent and focused flavor extraction, complemented with traditional punch-downs by hand. The wine was aged entirely in Francois Freres cooperage, 40% new, and racked once, gently, prior to bottling. Grapes, must, and wines were moved using gravity through to the barrel and using inert gas through racking and bottling. 151 cases produced.
Bright fruit notes dominate the aromas with bright cherry, plum, and boysenberry underlaid by allspice and clove. On the palate the wine is liquid velvet, it’s silkiness segueing into a burst of fruit and spice that rides high on the palate while gradually opening to deeper berry, tea, and baking spices. It is a refreshing and lively Pinot Noir in its youth that will continue to fill out in depth and complexity over the next 2-5 years.
Ancien Pinot Noir Carneros is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
Pinot Noir Carneros comes entirely from the Toyon Vineyard, located in the Napa side of Carneros. This vineyard was originally planted for Ancien Wines in 1998 with cuttings tracing back to the Swan estate in Sonoma County and Dijon 115 - followed by cuttings from Ed Penhoet’s vineyard in Carmel Valley. Ed’s selection from River Selection is a story into itself, and is sometimes referred as “Pisoni Clone” since Gary Pisoni took cuttings from the vineyard in the early ‘80s.
Baking spice sings in an endless symphony with wild berry notes, complemented by characteristic Carneros notes of cola. Juicy cherry notes grace the palate and combine seamlessly with anise and hibiscus, ending on a savory note. The palate is round and full of textural, mouth-coating tannins balanced by a bright acidity. Broad chewy tannins, earthy spices and minerality complement the fruit and exotic floral notes of this wine. The palate of this delicious wine will continue to develop in opulence over years of aging, revealing even darker layers and an increasingly smooth texture.
Ancien Pinot Noir Fiddlestix is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
The Fiddlestix Vineyard is located in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, which straddle the Santa Ynez River as it makes its way to the Pacific Ocean. As an East-West oriented valley, opening its mouth to the cool Pacific breezes, the consistent and cooling marine influence is significant. The vineyard is managed and owned in partnership by Kathy Joseph, who has planted an array of clones and rootstocks on several, varied soils to create a staggering level of diversity from this single vineyard. The remarkably consistent weather, characterized by lower highs and higher lows than our North Coast vineyards, conspires with silica-laden, marine sedimentary soils to make wines of power and exceptional structure.
Fiddlestix always presents a bold Pinot Noir with notes of fruit and exotic spice. As the vines have aged, we noticed more and more underlying depth (they now are approaching their 25th vintage). The nose greets with notes of cassis, Indian spice, and hints of incense. Fresh dark fruits lead the palate, and the focus settles on ripe flavors of blackberry and currants spiced with peppercorn/allspice. Velvety and softly chewy tannins emphasize structure, while ever-present acidity balances and brightens. The spicy aromatics and flavors continue through the long finish.
Octopoda Pinot Noir Russian River is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
10 months in 40% new French oak
Beautiful garnet color with aromas of bing cherry, red raspberry, baking spice and subtle vanilla notes. On the palate, flavors are of concentrated red and blue fruit, with a core of cherry and dark raspberry with purple violet floral notes. Medium bodied with balanced acidity that lifts the flavors
Paul Hobbs Russian River Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
Sourced predominately from the estates that are defined by their proximity to the coast and Russian River climate, the wine displays vivid crimson and aromas of violet, Morello cherry, and black tea. Velvet tannins on the palate ride along a juicy backbone of flavors such as cranberry, Blood orange, and Damson plum. The finish is long, powered behind a crisp acidity and appealing red clay-like minerality.
Trione Pinot Noir River Road Ranch is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
River Road Ranch encompasses 115 acres in the heart of the Russian River Valley appellation. Located on the western bench of the Santa Rosa Plain, the vineyard thrives in well-drained soils. The region's fog-cooled nights are ideal for this varietal.
This Pinot Noir presents aromas of dark cherry, exotic spice, green tea and a slight earthiness we call forest floor. The wine is silky on the palate, beautifully balanced, with a long finish. The Pinot Noir's firm structure suggests excellent aging potential, 10-15 years.
We made this Pinot Noir in small lots, using traditional techniques —fermenting in open-top tanks and hand-plunging the caps during primary fermentation. To accentuate the outstanding fruit flavors, we added 20% whole clusters to the each fermenter. The Pinot Noir aged twelve months in French oak barrels (40% new) from coopers Meyrieux Traditional House and Remond.
"A savory and mossy pinot noir with racy berries, licorice and ash. Some coca cola, too. This is deep and decadent with some dried roses and wet earth on the palate and some darker fruit and herbs in the lengthy finish. Drink or hold."
- James Suckling (June 2022), 92 pts
Ancien Pinot Noir Russian River Jouissance is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
Jouissance comes from the southwestern corner of the appellation, only nominally protected by the coastal hills and open to the maritime influence of the Pacific Ocean, is the single source for these grapes. The soils here are sandy loam and very well drained, typical for the Russian River Valley. The cooler sections of Russian River, near Sebastopol, are known for producing explosive and aromatic fruit flavors balanced with acidity and earthy aromas. All seventeen rows are planted with Dijon 115 clone, nudging the wine toward perfumed aromas and light spice notes as a compliment to the lush fruitiness derived from the soils.
Notes of strawberry and tart pie cherry are accompanied by notes of sweet vanillin, toasted hazelnut and coffee as an introduction to this joyfully juicy blend of rich fruit and earthy spice. The wine opens to a well integrated mid-palate of dark berries, toffee and cassis. The broad palate is elevated and brightened with a mouthwatering acidity that welcomes this wine to the table. Sassafras, herbal notes and baking spices are revealed in the satisfying finish.
The Ancien Estate Wines
The Estate is owned by Ken and Teresa Bernards whose combined experience is moving into its 3rd decade, having made acclaimed wines for other producers prior to focusing on their own label, Ancien. Their trips to Burgundy filled them with inspiration drawn from the ancient history and tradition of winemaking. While the techniques have constantly been refined, they have been using the same principles of winemaking for generations.
The Ancien Vineyards
Carneros Chardonnay comes from a plant selection, planted on vineyards at the Toyon Ranch on the Napa side of Carneros and the Vella Ranch. Carneros Pinot Noir is a blend of two very similar vineyards situated near the Napa-Sonoma county line at the southern end of the appellation. The two vineyards, Domaine Chandon and the Ferguson Ranch, were both planted in 1973. Both are austere sites with lean soils and low vigor. The similarity of site, rootstock, clone and vine age (28 year old) ensure a commonality between the wines. Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir is grown in Steiner Vineyard, at 1100 feet elevation, on the cool northwestern slope, 17 miles from the ocean. The first grapes were planted here in 1973 (making them pioneer of the region). Seeing the unique qualities of grapes grown in this outstanding area, they were a driving force in creating the Sonoma Mountain Appellation. The soils vary through the vineyard changing from clay loamy stuff with fractured ryolite to an austere rocky area. Carneros Pinot Gris is grown on the far southwestern edge at the Sangiacomo family's El Novillero Vineyard (2 acres). The soils and eastern facing orientation are perfect.
Trespass Zinfandel is made from 100 percent Zinfandel.
As winemaker Kirk Venge says, old vine Zinfandel has a very welcome place in his heart. “These vines are soldiers that have endured so many seasons, it’s nearly countless. We depend on these vineyards for their pure varietal character, depth and consistency. The Luvisi Vineyard, where the grapes for this wine originate, is perhaps the oldest vineyard I have the pleasure of working with.” This is nothing short of a rich wine with lovely red fruit layers from start of the nose to the black fruit flavors as the finish tapers off. The flavors are rich and ripe with a brambly strawberry preserves that carries throughout. Balance is found with bright, prominent acidity and tannin texture. It’s beautiful to see old vine Zin respected and made in this fashion. Our barrel regime is a bit different as we age in 50% new French oak with the balance in neutral barrels, rather than the conventional American oak. The subtle nuance it gives to this fruit is truly delicious!
Aged for 17 months and bottled unfined, unfiltered.
150 cases produced 100% Zinfandel –
Aged 17 months in 50% new French Oak Barrels Bottled
Intense violet, hints of lavender, black cherry, fresh leather and spicy flavors (white pepper and clove), rich and concentrated with a lingering spicy finish. Will age gracefully for several decades.
Morlet doesn’t make much of it, but their Syrah is beautiful and well worth seeking out. The 2018 Syrah Bouquet Garni comes from the cool climate, higher elevation Bennett Valley in Sonoma and offers a big, exotic nose of blackberry and blackcurrant fruits as well sandalwood, dried flowers, new leather, and white pepper. The fruit is ripe and opulent, yet it still holds onto loads of classic cooler-climate Syrah gaminess and peppery notes. Full-bodied on the palate, it’s balanced and has a lively, clean texture, beautiful depth of fruit, and a great finish. Enjoy bottles any time over the coming decade.
-Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points