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DeLoach Green Valley Pinot Noir 2008
This wine is a blend from several vineyards and Pinot noir clones, each of which contributes something unique to the finished wine. The late-ripening Ferguson Vineyard lends dark, intense fruit and tannins while the Giberti Vineyard ripens earlier in a slightly warmer area of the valley. The backbone of the blend is from the Swicegood Vineyard where the soils are reminiscent of those in Burgundy: rich in clay and calcareous. Grapes are destemmed and go through native fermentation in open-top vats with hand punchdowns. The Giberti and Ferguson lots were blended after pressing, and were aged separately from the Swicegood lots until just before bottling.
Enticingly aromatic, with notes of raspberries, black cherries, rhubarb, rose petals and a hint of cola, this wine pairs well with Alaskan salmon or other rich fish. Try it with a seared duck breast and a blackcurrant glaze!
DeLoach Vineyards has been a pioneering producer of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Zinfandel in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley since 1975. DeLoach seeks to produce exceptional wines that spotlight the singular personality of the Russian River Valley, with its rare and bountiful convergence of the sea, the soil and the stars. The Boisset family of Burgundy has stewarded winegrowing and winemaking at DeLoach since 2003, bringing the techniques and approaches of Burgundy to winemaking in the Russian River Valley, which they believed to be California’s most expressive terroir for cultivating Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Under Boisset, DeLoach has grown its small-lot vineyard designate wine program, become a certified organic and Biodynamic estate vineyard, and implemented traditional Burgundian winemaking techniques such as open-top wood fermentors, native yeast fermentations, and hand punch-downs. Wine & Spirits magazine has named DeLoach Vineyards a Top 100 Winery twelve times.
Situated on the foggier and colder western edge of the Russian River Valley, almost abutting the Sonoma Coast appellation, Green Valley is one of California’s most reputable Chardonnay and Pinot noir producing regions. It is also a wonderful source of sparkling wines made from these varieties.
Goldridge soils abound throughout the Green Valley appellation. This fine, dark, sandy loam and fractured sandstone is derived from the remains of ancient inland seabeds dating back three to five million years. It is valuable for high quality grape growing because of its excellent drainage and low fertility.
One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).
In the Glass
Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.
Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.
For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Villages or Cru level wines.