2017 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Hellenthal Vineyard
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.