Rivers-Marie Summa Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010
Pinot Noir from Sonoma County, California
Nice to see the 98 block of Summa return to the lineup. After not being happy with the 2009 version, we spent most of the off season trying to figure out what we could do to give this wine a bit more dimension. After a lot of tasting, the one current unexplored input became obvious, stems. The vintage and its long hang time certainly allowed for the possibility. Not knowing quite what to expect, we settled on 10% as our trial number and couldn't be happier with the results. For us, the wine always lacked an extra degree of breadth at bottling. The stems seem to have filled the wine out a bit giving it more intellectual interest and also helping to firm the wine up a bit. The added structure carries the finish a bit further than normal and makes for a fresher seeming wine. It cuts into the initial sappiness we look for in the mid-palate but with time in the decanter, the classic Summa texture works its way to the forefront.
The Wine Advocate - "The 2010 Pinot Noir Summa Vineyard is the first wine Brown made with whole clusters, 10% in this vintage. Plums, cherries, mint, tobacco and incense waft from the glass from this attractive, mid-weight Pinot. A finessed, supple finish leaves a lasting impression. It will be interesting to watch this wine evolve, and specifically to see if the use of whole clusters is an experiment or if it becomes a staple of the approach here. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2020. "
Burghound.com - "A ripe and moderately pitched nose of dark berry fruit, plum, dried flowers and spice nuances leads to rich, delicious and round medium-bodied flavors that possess fine depth on the succulent but focused and mouth coating finish. There is good mid-palate concentration and ample amounts of dry extract that imparts a real sense of volume to the backend. While there is already very solid complexity it seems reasonably clear that there is much more to come and though this presently suave and seductively textured effort could be drunk now with pleasure, I would advise cellaring it for at least 5 to 7 years first."
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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 & 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.