As we have mentioned before, the Hellenthal vineyard can span a range of expressions. Some years it shows itself to be bold and brawny, while other years it is timid and feminine. This vintage offers a Pinot Noir that is more the former. Although shy on the nose at this stage, there are aromas of dark berries, brown sugar and vanilla. On the palate are concentrated flavors of dried cranberries with lesser influences of dark stone fruits. This tannin structured age worthy wine has an encompassing mouthfeel with a concentration that hangs on the palate. Hellenthal lovers rejoice.
2017 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Balletto Vineyard
We have always considered the Hellenthal vineyard the bellwether in the years in which it has excelled, but lately the Balletto vineyard has closed the gap, not only with its consistency, but with its depth of flavors. The Balletto has the most revealing nose from this vintage at this early stage. It displays aromas of candied dark fruits, rose petals with a lesser hint of that typical white pepper. A taste offers a velvety entry of black plum that softens to red plum mid palate. There is brisk acidity, drying fruit tannins, a slight pepper essence leading to a long finish to round out the experience. It is becoming more clear to Kirk what has always been clear to Denise and many of you.
2017 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Oehlman Vineyard
The Oehlman vineyard can wear two distinct masks based on the harvest brix and/or the vintage. Picked earlier with less sugar its profile can be light delicate red fruits quite nuanced by orange zest, baking spices while remaining light on its feet. On the other end of the spectrum, in vintages where the fruit is harvested later with more brix or stemming from a more structured vintage, the expression is bold red fruits, not nearly as nuanced but stronger in flavor and more similar to our other Pinots. This vintage reflects the later. While the nose shows prettiness to it, suggesting delicate red fruits and a dash of spice. On the palate the experience is dark red berries, perhaps mixed with some dried red plum, tailing off with a suggestion of honey or wafer. This vintage is more structured than normal with stronger fruit tannins than most vintages. In spite of its departure from a typical Oehlman, this wine will please due to its strength of experience and will pull in those who might find the Oehlman on the lighter side.
2017 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Oh boy are we excited about this wine. Is proud parenthood showing through? We know that our estate fruit only makes up 25% of this blend, with 50% being comprised of Oehlman fruit and the other 25% being Balletto fruit. Although our 5th leaf (5 seasons of growth) fruit is young, its components definitely added to the blend. The R.R.V. shows the red fruits from the Oehlman, the body and mouthfeel from the Balletto and a brambly forest component that we are attributing to the estate fruit. This blend shows its true R.R.V. heritage with red fruit elements, tea, modest fruit tannins finishing long on the palate.
2017 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
The Sonoma Coast is a blend of the Hellenthal vineyard (66%) and Balletto vineyard (34%). This wine marries the lush dark fruits from these coastal vineyards and delivers a power packed experience. The nose reveals aromas of black stone fruits, cocoa with a hint of spice leaching from Balletto’s white pepper. A taste reveals a deep brooding experience with candied dark stone fruits, mixed berries, structured tannins with a finish that hangs in the mouth. Due to its blend expect this wine to hold its own against the designates.
This vintage of Hellenthal is wonderfully balanced offering an elegant, weighty wine in a more feminine style. On the nose are aromas of stone fruits, anise and vanilla beans. A taste reveals integrated flavors of blueberries and blackberries in front of a light vein of red cherries coupled with a touch of minerality, a dusting of anise and hints of honeysuckle. The abundant fruit tannins highlight the structure offering a very balanced long finishing wine that will age gracefully for years to come..
2016 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Balletto Vineyard
A wonderful nose of blue and black fruits mixed with the characteristic white pepper that is so vibrant in many vintages of Balletto. While the flavor profiles from this vineyard can vary from vintage to vintage, the consistency does not. Flavors of black cherries, candied black plums mingle with the vibrant white pepper that morphs into more of a spiciness as the wine opens. There is a quenching citrus essence and lively acidity married to some additional stem tannin that couples with the fruit elements to showcase a wonderful wine whose flavor continues to linger and linger.
2016 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Oehlman Vineyard
Intense floral aromas lead the experience alongside red fruits and tea. It opens with a bursting entry of raspberry jam, joined by a sweet cranberry flavor which is nuanced by orange rind, followed by black tea leaves and those typical baking spices that the less ripe vintages of Oehlman highlight. These elements are framed by fruit tannins leading into a long palate holding finish. This is one of those ah ha vintages of Oehlman.
2016 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
This pretty Russian River Valley owes its base to the Salzgeber vineyard with lesser support from the Oehlman and Balletto vineyards. The aromas in this blend offer lively red fruits, cocoa and spice. There are flavors of strawberries, salmonberries and black cherries up front with some cola, honey and toasted nuts further down the line. The fruit tannins so ever present in the Salzgeber vineyard offer the structure to carry the beautiful fruits to the finish..
2016 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Owing to its parents (Hellenthal and Balletto) the Sonoma Coast offers a nose suggesting both black and red fruits with of course that white pepper from Balletto. On the palate are fruit flavors that run the spectrum from dark stone fruits to dark candied red fruits offering structuring stem tannin and a spiciness. The fruit flavors lurch to the forefront and fill the mid-palate, offering a density and complexity that allow a lingering finish. This wine is after all a Hellenthal entry, a Balletto mid-palate and a matrimonial finish.
2016 Pinot Noir, Sonoma County (aka Salzgeber Vineyard)
Aromas of dried red fruits and plum. The palate shows red cherries, plums offered through the vibrant entry well into the mid palate. The traditional Salzgeber fruit tannins are harmoniously integrated with the fruit expression. There is a freshness and palate quenching essence that carries through to the mouth coating finish.
The usually shy aromas of Hellenthal are on full display offering an alluring mix of both red & black stone fruits, mixed berries, cocoa and earthy elements. Upon savoring the palate, complex layers of dried black plum, concentrated wild black berries exist harmoniously alongside citrus elements, honey, minerality and fruit tannins that showcase a completely captivating wine experience. The depth and longevity of flavors are intoxicating.
2015 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Salzgeber Vineyard
This vintage offers a seductively prettier Salzgeber than the more normal strong fruit tannined version. The nose suggests rich red fruits, cola and river stones. A sip encourages finding full flavored Satsuma plums, Rainier cherries, notes of cinnamon, hints of toasted oak that lead to this vineyard’s signature fruit tannined framework, highlighted by a plush and velvety finish.
2015 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Balletto Vineyard
This 2015 bottling is another outstanding example from this consistent vineyard. The bouquet is perfumery and very florally driven displaying blueberries, rose petals and hints of chocolate. The piquant flavors of blackberry jam lead, followed by more subtle supporting blueberries sprinkled with a dusting of chocolate. The white pepper essence always present in young Balletto bottlings is masquerading as nuanced allspice. This wine has a voluptuous mouthfeel, strength of fruit and engulfing body all bundled inside the bottle.
2015 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Oehlman Vineyard
Most years the Oehlman bottling vacillates between its more feminine and delicate flavored profile to its bigger bolder expression depending on vintage and harvest brix. This vintage the Oehlman displays the elegance of the lighter profile with the robustness of the bigger and riper vintage. The typical Oehlman aromas exist offering lighter red fruits, orange blossom, tea and spices. The palate flavors are supportive of the aromas, but very robust in nature. The cranberry/raspberry flavors are bold and intense, the orange essence is more orange zest or juice than blossom, followed by black tea and baking spices. These flavors are in a holding pattern in the mouth while the mind races to catch up to the experience.
2015 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
This seductive blend of Russian River components will make one’s nose perk up to the lively aromatics of dried red fruits, anise, citrus and tea. The flavors derived from the blend showcase the makeup: Balletto’s dark fruits & spice with everything nice 43%, Rochioli’s bold red fruits 25%, Oehlman’s cran/rasp & orange zest prettiness 17% and Salzgeber’s dried red fruits and fruit tannins 15%. Warning! Must be tried to be believed.
2015 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
Yes, you read the headline correctly, Chardonnay from WesMar. As our Pinot Noirs are crafted, this is fruit forward and acidicly driven. The 2015 Russian River Valley Chardonnay assaults your nose with tropical aromas that snap one’s head back making one think of the floralness of Viognier on the nose. The palate offers sweet tropical fruits, lesser notes of lemon cream, Golden Delicious apple all framed in a viscous, minimally oaked, lasting experience.