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Spring Release Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Winemaker’s Notes

Our 2001 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir continues our philosophy of blending sites, clones, maturity levels and vine-ages to enhance complexity, providing greater aging potential and increased development of secondary nuances with cellaring. Younger, early-picked sources provide fresh, sappy red fruits while older vineyards show darker black cherry notes and powerful structure. The blend is harmonious and complementary. An important new source for us this year is the O'Connor Vineyard, which sits atop a ridge in the heart of the Green Valley sub-appellation. This vineyard offers a fine example of new clonal material, tightly spaced on Goldridge loam over gravel. We are extremely excited about this vineyard's future prospects.

Although a warmer season overall, 2001 began with severe frosts that limited crop potential from the outset and resulted in yields that were down from the higher cropping 2000 season. Berry size was moderate to small giving thick skins with less juice and thus the potential for dark concentrated wines. Harvest began early but stretched into the first week of October due to a period of cool weather during which sugars were static but flavors developed. Our old vine sources were harvested following a short burst of heat, which added a touch of extra ripeness to the already concentrated fruit. In the Cellar we opted to gently ferment at cooler temperatures with less punching down than previous vintages to ensure balance and harmony of fruit and tannins without over-extraction.

The wine exhibits deep ruby red color, complex aromatics of concentrated kirsch lifted by high-tone floral notes of wild berries, Asian spices and rose petals. The palate entry is bright and lively, weaving sweet red berry flavors among darker notes of black cherry, roasted meat and licorice. The wine is densely packed in the mouth with an expansive mid palate and ripe extract that buffer the youthful tannins and strong backbone. The finish, currently youthfully tight, will extend with maturation, allowing the wine to soften and broaden. Our most cellar-worthy Pinot yet, this powerfully structured wine will reward patient cellaring for 6 to 8 years under proper storage conditions. We recommend decanting for an hour if drinking young, both to separate the natural sediment and allow the wine's lovely texture to fully emerge.

Andy Smith

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Harvest Date

September 11th through October 5th


Russian River Valley


Old Beringer selection, Pommard, Dijon 115

Age of Vines at Harvest

9 years

Barrel Aging

Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 55% new from Tonnelleries- Remond, Francois Freres and Rousseau


1935 cases of 750mL
101 cases of 1.5L
28 bottles of 3L