Every so often I encounter a site or area where the meager soil and/or exposure gives exceptional concentration and character amplified beyond the surroundings. I bottled a Fort Ross Vineyard ‘High Slopes’ in the early 2000’s for these reasons. Over a decade later, a similar situation arose and with a few vintages experience in hand now, and I decided to honor it once again with this designation.
Our first vintage from this area that is Southernmost edge of Russian River Valley AVA, it has significant coastal influence that shows in the structure when you peer inside the substantial generosity it possesses. If the Hallberg bottling is Audrey Hepburn, this wine is Ann Margaret. It walks the tightrope between ‘voluptuous’ and ‘restrained’ perfectly.
Tiny, seedless berries mixed into the same cluster as a few seeded berries that are about 10 days less ripe. Using my own Zinfandel-making sensibility here, I look at seizing the moment for harvest when the riper, seedless berries are still short of overripe and the lagging seeded berries are just ripe enough to bring the best qualities of that portion. Finding the sweet spot is not so difficult when you are paying attention and the weather even halfway cooperates.
Ripe black raspberry, iodine, slightly underripe tart wild blackberry and nuances of patchouli (especially on the finish). It is compelling and complex. I released a tiny portion of this to a wholesale market a little while ago to rave reviews.
Judi Scherrer –
Vinous – May 2019
The 2015 Pinot Noir ‘High Slopes’ [was Pinot Hill–name TBD at review] is one of the bigger, riper wines in Fred Scherrer’s range. Black cherry, plum, chocolate, spice and leather all add to the wine’s deep, ample feel. This is an especially succulent, racy Pinot Noir built on a real sense of density, but there is a good bit of complexity as well. Plum, lavender and spice add the final shades of nuance. 93 points. Antonio Galloni
Judi Scherrer –
Purely Domestic Wine Report – May 2020
The nose is carbon and sap, savory plum with silky red fruit. The palate is dense, textured and dry with plum and sticky blackberry in the core. Clean, fresh red cherry on the finish. Drink 2020 – 2027. 92 Points. Doug Wilder