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Kistler Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
"The 2021 comes from a cooler Russian River site and offers a complex bouquet of red currants, smoked earth, ground pepper, and exotic floral and rose hip notes. Rich, medium-bodied, and seamless on the palate, its incredibly classy as well as perfectly balanced."
Steve Kistler and Mark Bixler believed that remarkable and charactered Chardonnays of site could in fact be grown and produced in California. It was a notion ahead of its time. For the last forty years we’ve been pursuing that notion without compromise. Bill Price, longtime owner of Durell Vineyards purchased an interest in Kistler Vineyards from Steve in 2008. Jason Kesner joined Steve in the cellar in 2008 in order to begin to lay the groundwork for the next forty years. Steve retired from Kistler Vineyards at the end of 2017.
One heritage Californian selection of Chardonnay planted across fifteen vineyards, from Carneros to Sonoma Valley, to the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast. From those sites we produce eleven vineyard designate Chardonnays. We are wholly dedicated to the ideal of wines of site. It’s an unparalleled approach in the new world.
Two heritage selections of Pinot Noir inform all of our Pinot Noirs. Originally hailing from a Grand Cru vineyard in Burgundy, we’ve been propagating these two selections for the last twenty-five years. They, like our Chardonnay clone are very low yielding, resulting in wines with a natural density and concentration of flavor, balanced by elegant natural acids and elevated aromatics.
All of our Chardonnays are fermented in our subterranean barrel chais, where the native yeast and various biological patinas rule the ecology. Hand stacked french cooperage that we purchase as wood and have air dry aged in St. Romain where it is crafted into barrels three years later, houses all of the wines.
There’s no leeway for even a single barrel being a quarter inch out of line in our fermentation rooms. They have to be perfectly in line, every one, to set the tone and expectation for every move we make in the cellar.
We guide our fermentations with as little intervention as possible. Our entire process is designed to enhance the characters of the individual sites, relative to one another, to peel back further layers as opposed to leaving our mark on the wine. Our fermentations are conducted solely with native yeasts, at moderately cool temperatures and with little to no machination of the fruit.
A gentle touch defines our approach to Pinot Noir. We watch, and take notes, and guide more than we overtly act, or intervene. We've worked all year in the vineyard for this fruit. At the winery we simply usher it through its fermentations and into barrel as delicately as we can.
We farm the majority of our acreage ourselves. But we wouldn’t be where we are without our growers and the nature of our relationships with them goes back to our beginnings in the late 70’s.
We don’t buy fruit in the traditional sense, instead we plant in partnership with our growers, selecting the best soils, and working very closely together on the establishment and raising of those vines with our heritage clones. The youngest relationship amongst our growers dates to 1994 when we began bottling both our Hudson and Hyde bottlings from the Carneros region.
They may have vines already in the ground, but it takes generations of working with a site to truly understand its best and highest potential. If there is one thing you have to take from the old world it’s most certainly that. In our winemaker Jason’s words: “We’ll be tasting at the winery and I’ll ponder aloud how great some of these sites will be in a hundred years. Some of our people will look at me like I’m crazy but isn’t that what we’re doing now, learning things that will be built upon for the making of the wines then?”.
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.
Ziata Pinot Noir Russian River Valley is made from 100% Pinot Noir.
Green Valley is tightly delineated geographically and climatically, and is the most consistent Sonoma Coast appellation in terms of soil, climate and flavor profile. Two factors, in particular, make it ideal for Pinot Noir. First, the predominant soil type is Goldridge, which with its excellent drainage and low fertility, curtails the vine’s vigor. This results in fewer clusters but of better quality. Second, its elevation and cool coastal climate mean a smaller swing between and day and night temperatures, and its overall cooler daytime temperatures allow for a longer growing season to bring out the full potential of the fruit.
This silky Pinot Noir opens with aromas of fresh strawberry, cherry, raspberry and plum, warmed by notes of spice, forest floor and cedar. The wine is fresh and balanced on the palate, with fruit and beautifully integrated oak flowing into a long, juicy finish.
This was the third year of drought, but well-timed watering in the vineyard ensured ample growth and cluster development. Rolling heat spells prior to harvest were kept in check by cool nights, courtesy of the nearby Pacific Ocean. This diurnal range resulted in a medium-bodied, juicy gem of a Pinot Noir.
Flaunt Russian River Valley Sparkling Brut is made from 52% Chardonnay and 48% Pinot Noir.
This Brut is absolutely lovely. It is drier than the previous versions with only 1.5 grams of residual sugar. It is powerful and brisk with well integrated bubbles. There is an immediate hit of lemon zest with touches of nectarine and plum. Mid palate you notice the warm notes of brioche and a slight kick of white pepper on the finish.
This Russian River Valley Brut is a blend of wine from two vineyards in the Russian River Valley. It is approximately equal parts Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. These two grapes work wonderfully in Sonoma County’s maritime climate where the long, cool growing season allows for adequate ripeness of both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay while maintaining superb levels of natural acidity. Dianna Novy always loved the Russian River Valley for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, first as still wines, and now as Sparkling Wine.
"This crisp Brut offers fresh aromas and flavors of ripe pear and apple with a leesy fresh bread note. It is mouth filling with fresh acidity and has a sense of refinement, finishing long and chalky. Try it with oysters. A blend of 52% Chardonnay and 48% Pinot Noir with 3 years en tirage."
- I-winereview.com (December 2022), 92 pts
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 Edward James Estate Chardonnay Russian River Valley is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
This small five-acre estate named after Paul's great-grandfather, Edward James, rewards us with a chardonnay that is pale straw in color with inviting aromas of lemon zest, red apple skin, gardenia, and honeysuckle. A creamy mouthfeel on the palate evolves into poached pear, ginger spice, and brioche that come together with a crunchy acidity and lively finish.
The 2021 Chardonnay Edward James Estate takes on a lightly savory tone with a delicate perfume of smoky incense, fresh green pear. There’s a silky texture in this medium to full bodied white, with bright notes of preserved lime, ripe white peaches, and fresh flowers, and it has a clean, fantastic finish.
-Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
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.
Long Shadows Pedestal Merlot is made from 82% merlot, 15% cabernet sauvignon and 3% petit verdot.
Michel Rolland, Pomerol vintner and consultant to many of the world's top wineries, teamed with Washington State wine visionary Allen Shoup to produce this limited release wine.
With its intense color and inviting aromas of dark berries, licorice, baking spice and a hint of smoke, the Pedestal is a bold wine that leaves a lasting impression. Dark fruit flavors integrated with sweetness from the barrel and richness from the tannins come together seamlessly, lingering across a structured mid-palate and lengthy finish.
Winemaking: Hand-harvested grapes were double-sorted to remove green material that might impart harsh tannins, then most of the lots were cold soaked to build richness and flavor before undergoing whole-berry fermentation in 55L upright French wood tanks. This, combined with gentle pump-overs throughout fermentation, enhanced the wine’s color, texture and mouthfeel. The finished wine was aged 22 months in 85% new French oak barrels.
Beautiful cassis, chocolate, leafy herbs, and earth all emerge from the 2017 Pedestal, a ripe, sexy, opulent wine that does everything right. A blend put together by Michel Rolland and aged 22 months in 86% new French oak, it's beautiful today yet is going to cruise in cool cellars for 15 years or more.
-Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
I like the dark fruit with the tar and black-olive undertones here. It’s full-bodied with chewy tannins that are polished and soft. Lots of fruit and tension. Nice, dusty texture, too. 82% merlot, 15% cabernet sauvignon and 3% petit verdot.
-James Suckling 94 Points
Abeja Chardonnay Washington State is 100 percent Chardonnay
This Chardonnay has the essence of a freshly baked lemon meringue pie, green apple, and Bartlett pear. It is both dense and bright, with a hint of vanilla and cinnamon coming from its time in barrel. Aromas are so much related to experiences. It is a wine that is in the traditional Abeja style, with superb polish, complexity, and balance, yet with a light touch at 13.5 percent alcohol.