Marcassin Marcassin Vineyard Pinot Noir 2003
Pinot Noir from Sonoma County, California
"The 2003 Pinot Noir Marcassin Vineyard borders on perfection. Gorgeous floral notes intermixed with steak tartare, black raspberry, sweet cherry, plum, earth, and spice characteristics almost overwhelm the olfactory senses. Full-bodied with good acidity, sweet but present tannin, and a long, 50-second finish, this is a magnificent Pinot Noir. It's hard to choose between this cuvee and the Blue Slide Ridge 2003 Pinot. Bottom line ... life is too short not to have both.
Tasting at Marcassin with Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer is one of the more satisfying appointments a wine critic could have. This is commitment to excellence at its highest level. An unwavering, uncompromising brilliance and focus is reflected in not only meticulous work in the vineyard, but also in highly detailed winemaking that consistently succeeds in producing some of the finest Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs in the world. Even more interesting, since they have rarely given interviews, will be the two books that Turley and Wetlaufer are writing independently of each other. They possess an accumulation of knowledge and experience that is, as the advertising industry would say, "priceless." Hopefully some of that will soon make its way onto the written pages for future generations."
-Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
Wine Spectator - "An immense wine that's rich and concentrated, with taut, supple, firmly structured blueberry, wild berry and blackberry fruit that coats the palate. No shortage of tannins either, yet it's very deep and persistent, ending with smoky oak touches. Drink now through 2013. 450 cases made."
If you haven’t heard of Helen Turley, or tasted one of her wines, you’ve definitely not been paying close enough attention to the wines coming out of California in the last 10 years. She is arguably one of the most influential winemakers in the business, receiving critical acclaim for almost every wine she touches. Aside from her own boutique winery, Marcassin, which she runs with husband John Wetlaufer, Helen has been the consulting winemaker for some of the best wineries in the country – Colgin, Bryant Family, Martinelli – just to name a few.
Marcassin (french for 'young wild boar') is a VERY small winery – in fact it’s so small that the wines have actually been made at the Martinelli winery in Russian River Valley. Located on the Sonoma Coast, the Marcassin vineyard is planted to 50/50 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and is about 10 acres in size. Fruit for the other vineyard designated wines is sourced from other neighboring vineyards. Marcassin will always be a small winery; John & Helen feel the perfect size is 100 barrels, enough for 2,500 cases.
Helen’s winemaking philosophy is simple: great vineyards, meticulously farmed, limited yield, long hang time and natural yeast. She approaches every project with these same priorities. View all Marcassin Wines
About Sonoma CountyRelated Links:
Twice as large as Napa in size, Sonoma County only makes about a half the amount of wine as her northeasterly neighbor. But Sonoma, with her size, is able to vouch for more diversity within her borders, including sub-AVAs that are climatically varied. The atmosphere of Sonoma is decidedly laid back and down home country style. But in wines, they are keeping up with the Joneses, or Napa-ites if you will. Grape varieties are more varied here, from Pinot Noir and Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
Notable FactsThe largest sub-AVAs of Sonoma include Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Valley. Each sub-AVA, with its own micro-climate, is unique in its grape varieties and styles of wine. Dry Creek makes a mean Zinfandel while Russian River produces stand up Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Alexander Valley makes some of the better Cabernet Sauvignons in the county and Sonoma Valley creates excellent wines from all the above varieties. Other grapes found throughout Sonoma include Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.