Orogeny Vineyards Pinot Noir Green Valley 2004
Pinot Noir from Russian River, California
The fruit for the 2004 Orogeny Green Valley Pinot Noir was hand harvested early in the
morning. The grapes were then hand sorted and destemmed. We fermented the whole berries
in small, five-ton, open-top fermenters with a cold soak ranging from five to seven days.
During this soak we punched down the cap three times a day to bring out the color, spice and
fruit characteristics. We aged the wine in 100 percent French oak.
Focused aromas of raspberries and cherries with cinnamon spice overtones lead to luscious,
mouthfilling flavors of berries, cherries and a touch of vanilla. The finish is velvety, with silky tannins. This wine pairs deliciously with game, lamb and steak with wild mushroom sauce.
Pinot Noir, more than any other grape, reflects where it is grown. Orogeny pays tribute to the land with their name. Orogeny is a geological term that comes from Greek oro, "mountain," and -geny, "birth." It refers to the process during which the collisions and separations of the earth's crust form mountains. A series of orogenic episodes in Sonoma County near the Pacific Ocean formed the mountains and streams that created Green Valley, the unique source for Orogeny Vineyard's grapes.
They focus on cool-climate Pinot Noir from Green Valley, the coldest region of the famed Russian River Valley. Fog flows from the Pacific Coast along the Russian River and through the Petaluma Wind Gap, converging on this small area.
Orogeny's grapes are grown on five small vineyards, each only five to ten acres, which were selected to display the bright fruit characteristics of classic Green Valley Pinot Noir. Their limited size permits Orogeny to use hands-on farming techniques. The vines are planted on ridges in Gold Ridge soils, a mix of sandy loam over sandstone and clay. These sites provide excellent drainage, which promotes even ripening and concentrated flavors.
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About Russian River
The Russian River Valley is named as such due to its proximity to the Russian River, the river itself named for the Russian fur traders who came down from Alaska in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The Russian River is agricultural land. While there is a focus on wine, beyond the vineyards are many small, family-owned farms cultivating everything from cattle to Christmas trees.
The proximity of this cool river and the rolling fogs from the Pacific Ocean make the area amenable to cool-climate grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In fact, the region is quite known for its full-bodied, yet elegant Pinot Noir, as well as their ripe, yet lean Chardonnays. Within Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. Chalk Hill is the warmer of the two and furthest from the ocean, while Green Valley is cooler and closer to the water.
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.