Joseph Phelps Freestone Vineyards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2006
Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
The long growing season in 2006 provided the winery with Pinot Noir grapes that were in nearly immaculate condition, with crunchy skins, lots of perfume and excellent tannin development. The winemaking team took every opportunity to utilize these beautiful grapes most effectively. We maximized the use of whole berries in each tank and also experimented with some whole cluster additions to the fermentations. Both of these techniques add to the silky texture and accentuate the spicy characteristics that are native to the cool Freestone region. This Pinot Noir is a selection of the best wines produced during the 2006 harvest. We selected the groups with the best balance of tannin, flavor concentration, aroma and acidity. The resulting blend offers hints of sandalwood, wild blackberry and balsamic reduction, dried tea leaves, and a mélange of Indian spices. This wine is serious, yet restrained, and has a backbone of natural acidity, tannin and minerality to provide the structure necessary for aging.
Wine Enthusiast - "A very fine, ageable Pinot that shows a feral, exotic quality that is rare, but always welcome. Grown on the true, cool coastal strip of the appellation, it’s dry and crisp in citrusy acids, with intricate flavors of wild cherries, balsam, maple syrup, teriyaki-grilled beef, licorice, cola and Asian spices. Such is the tannic structure that it should evolve over the next 8–10 years."
International Wine Cellar - "Good fresh dark red. Captivating aromas of strawberry, raspberry, flowers, incense, mocha and loam, with some Burgundian funk and blood orange emerging as the wine opens in the glass. Quite supple, even creamy, in the middle palate, with musky red berry, earth and spice flavors nicely framed by harmonious acidity. As round and seamless as this is in the middle, and as silky and lush as it is on the aftertaste, there's no shortage of structure. Some whole-cluster and whole-berry fermentation has contributed both an intriguing floral/spicy quality and a creamy sweetness. I've been following this venture since the Phelps family purchased this cool-climate Sonoma Coast property in 1999, and this second release of the estate's flagship pinot is a knockout."
Burghound.com - "A moderately high-toned nose of red pinot fruit, violet, menthol and spice hints introduces delicious, intense, round and sappy medium-bodied flavors that possess good depth and length. This is a generous yet stylish effort that offers good depth and about the only nit is a trace of backend warmth. Adding to the appeal is that with 20 to 30 minutes of air, this can be enjoyed now though it clearly has the stuffing to improve over the next 4 to 7 years."
Wine Spectator - "Firm and intense. Spicy wild berry, loamy earth, dusty herb, sage and mineral notes fan out nicely, gaining depth and dimension on the long, complex finish. Drink now through 2012. 2,700 cases made. "
Connoisseurs' Guide - "There is no dearth of richness, muscle or mass about this very ripe and solidly fruity young wine. It never gives in to softness at any point, and, to the contrary, it is nicely balanced and shows a slight spine of firming acid and tannin that bodes exceptionally well for its future. All it needs to age into better is to be allowed to rest in the cellar a bit."
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Joseph Phelps Vineyards
Joseph Phelps Vineyards is a family-owned winery committed to crafting world class, estate-grown wines. Founded in 1973 when Joe Phelps purchased a former cattle ranch near St. Helena in the Napa Valley, the winery now controls and farms nearly 375 acres of vines on eight estate vineyards in St. Helena, the Stags Leap District, Oakville, Rutherford, Oak Knoll District, Carneros and South Napa Valley. In 1999, the Phelps family added 100 acres of vineyard property near the town of Freestone on the Sonoma Coast, where Phelps now grows Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Phelps is best known for its flagship Napa Valley blend of red Bordeaux varietals, Insignia, first produced in 1974. Awarded Wine Spectator's "Wine of the Year" in 2005, Insignia is widely regarded as a qualitative benchmark for California winemaking. View all Joseph Phelps Vineyards Wines
About Sonoma CountyView a map of Sonoma County wineriesRelated 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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