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2015 Russian River Pinot Noir

2015 Russian River Pinot Noir

List Member Price: $42.00  |  Non Member: $53.00

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Vineyard Source: The 2015 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is a blend of three different clones of Pinot Noir from the Martinelli family’s exceptional Ceremonial Vineyard, located in the heart of the Russian River Valley appellation.  The wine’s core of classic red cherry, alpine strawberry and cola aromatics come from the clones 777 and 115, with the Pommard 5 contributing elements of earth, rose petal, depth of color, elegantly developed tannins and additional body to the wine.

Vintage:  The 2015 vintage proved to be our fourth in a string of excellent growing seasons here in the Russian River Valley.  However, early in the year it seemed that disaster was imminent.  The winter season was again extremely dry and many of us worried that there would not be sufficient water to allow for adequate vegetative growth of the vines in the spring, much less fruit production during the growing season; four years of extended drought was looking as if it would be devastating in terms of wine production.  Storm systems finally moved in during February and saved our harvest dropping three inches of rainfall and allowing the vines to thrive.  An additional inch of rain fell in April, which provided more groundwater for the vines, however at a cost; the rain, accompanied by unusually cool spring temperatures, impacted flowering across the Russian River Valley and resulted in poor fruit set.  As the grape clusters began to size up, it was apparent that there were a high proportion of “hens & chicks,” clusters that had both small and large berries.  Millerandage of this type produces exceptional wines, however it drastically reduces cluster weights.  The result: our Pinot Noir yields were 37% lower than the previous harvest.  The cool spring gave way to a mostly sunny summer growing season, with warm temperatures returning in July and August.  The small crop and warm weather resulted in rapid fruit maturity, leading to the earliest harvest during my twenty years of winemaking.  The resulting wines show extremely expressive aromatics, intense flavors, dark colors, bright natural acidity, fine integrated tannins and rich complexity. 

Winemaking:   Pristine fruit allowed us to send a quarter of the grapes into the fermentor as whole clusters, with the remaining three quarters being gently destemmed. The fruit was cooled to 50º and was cold-soaked for five days, before it was allowed to gently warm and was inoculated with a yeast strain from Williams Selyem.  Fermentation took nine days, with punch-downs performed by hand every six hours. At the completion of fermentation, the free-run wine was drained to barrel and the must was gently pressed.  The wine completed its malolactic fermentation in barrel, with one racking. It was bottled without fining or filtration.

Winemaker Notes:  The nose of this wine is powerful and intense, dominated by layers of red cherry, ripe alpine strawberries, rose petal, cola and a touch of sandalwood. The first taste offers beautifully balanced red cherry and strawberry coulis notes.  On the mid-palate the wine is rich and mouth filling with cherry and cola notes alongside earthy hints of forest floor and fine, well-integrated tannins. The finish is long, balance, mouthwatering and bright, with more cherry showing through.  A pleasure to taste – I hope you enjoy!

Technical Notes:
Variety: Pinot Noir (100%)
Clones / Selections: 777, 115 & Pommard 5
Harvest Dates: September 3, 2015
Barrel-Aging: 19 months in 60-gallon French oak barrels (50% new)
- pH: 3.58
- TA: 5.8 grams/liter
- Alcohol: 14.2%
Filtration: None
Cases Produced: 248
Retail Price: $53

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