After experiencing one of the longest times in barrel we have ever given our Pinot Noir, this was bottled only last May, and has just begun to get used to living in a glass house, so to speak. I have learned to hold off on releasing the RRV bottling to restaurants and wine shops until about a year later, when the wine will be ready to begin its life of pleasure-giving the moment the cork is pulled, so you get to see it first. Similar to our RRV bottlings of the past, with a bit of that sweet, loamy earthiness and light herbal character as a counterpoint to the red fruits, this exhibits less of a cola note and more of sassafras character this vintage. I think the sassafras is expressed more in the ‘banana belt’ on the Sonoma Coast ridges, where the nighttime temperatures are typically not as low as the RRV slightly inland. In 2003, the vines must have vacationed on these ridges.
Update: July 2006
We have tried to time any reviewers’ access to our wines with the wines’ release to wine shops and restaurants. A prime example is our 2003 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, released to our mailing list last November and only now making it to restaurants. Burgundy specialist Allen Meadows, aka Burghound, describes it in his most recent issue: “A ripe and beautifully complex nose featuring spice, sweet dark berries and violets complements the rich, full, and textured flavors that possess excellent complexity and real character . . . 90/2009 .” Last year, our 2002 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir was his first domestic wine of the month and is still listed on the non-subscribers portion of his website, along with selected Burgundies.