Thorne Rio Vista Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008
Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, California
The Thorne 2008 Pinot Noir is from our family-owned Rio Vista Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, Santa Barbara County. The 2008 vintage was harvested in late September 2008 and has four clones 115, 2A, 667 and 777. It was barrel-aged for 18 months in 40% new French oak and 60% older French oak.
This is an elegant wine, finely balanced with a bright ruby color, and a delicate nose that possesses lovely fresh fruit and floral aromas. The 'in the mouth feel' is subtle and provocative with flavors of cherry and raspberry, the texture is rich, followed by a smooth round finish.
The current Rio Vista Vineyard property was settled in the late 1800's by Portuguese immigrants, many from the Azores.The farmhouse, recently restored, was built around the turn of the century. There have been a number of visits from early occupants who were born or grew up on the property. Their stories describe an original vineyard that was in the same location as block 7 of the present Rio Vista Vineyard. They also brought photographs of large catches of steelhead from the Santa Ynez River displayed on the front porch of the farmhouse.
The Rio Vista Ranch has been in the family for over fifty years of raising cattle and farming. Bobbie Thorne's father Jack Wiester acquired the property in the mid fifties and Bobbie and Graner Thorne were married in the area in 1958. Over the years the Thornes and their children, John and Karey, shared their time on the ranch with their city home in Palos Verdes. They rode horses, worked cattle, and earned their keep during the summers on the ranch. Over the years, the Rio Vista Ranch has continued to be a gathering point for the immediate and extended family.
Graner and Bobbie Thorne continue to share their time between the Southland and Sta. Rita Hills, though their active involvement with their vineyard and the new wine brand finds them on the Rio Vista property with increasing frequency.
The first two vintages of Thorne Pinot Noir were made by different winemakers. This 2008 vintage (and two subsequent as yet unreleased vintages) were made by Ken Brown.
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About Santa Maria Valley
Situated near the ocean in the larger Santa Barbara district, the Santa Maria Valley appellation runs east to west. Pacific Ocean air funnels in to cool the vineyards, allowing the grapes to evenly ripen and reach their full potential. This unique climate paired with the region's well-drained soils helps create some sought-after grapes.
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the most planted varieties in the AVA, which covers over 7,000 acres of land. Syrah is gaining more ground as it consistantly produces outstanding wines. Many vineyards are owned by growers and sold to wineries, so seeing a vineyard name on multiple producer's bottles is common. One of the better known vineyards, Bien Nacido, is found on the labels of some of the most prestigious wines of the area.
It'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.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
Most 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 & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.