Flowers Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2017
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Over 25 years ago, Flowers Vineyards and Winery pioneered the growing of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on the rugged coastal ridges of the extreme Sonoma Coast. Joan and Walt Flowers had a simple goal, to make exceptional wine that captures the wild beauty of the land and the spirit of the Sonoma Coast. This idea continues to drive everything we do - farming responsibly, harvesting by hand, using 100% native fermentation, and making wine with minimal intervention. Our unwavering commitment to crafting distinctive wines that capture the spirit of the Sonoma Coast has been the bedrock of our success, and it will continue to drive us forward for years to come.
Perched on top of soaring coastal ridges that border the nearby Pacific Ocean, our estate vineyards, Camp Meeting Ridge and Sea View Ridge, rise to impressive elevations from 1,150 to 1,875 feet. Flowers resides in the Fort Ross-Seaview American Viticulture Area (AVA), which was established in 2012 and located on the extreme western edge of the Sonoma Coast Appellation. Defined by elevation, rugged terrain and proximity to the Pacific Ocean, vineyard plantings are limited to 920-1,800+ft above sea level and are only 2% of the total AVA acreage.
The Pacific Ocean is less than two miles from the vineyards, generating cooling sea breezes and coastal fog while the soaring elevations ensure abundant sunshine for a long, slow growing season. Together they create an ideal environment for elegant and nuanced Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
A vast appellation covering Sonoma County’s Pacific coastline, the Sonoma Coast AVA runs all the way from the Mendocino County border, south to the San Pablo Bay. The region can actually be divided into two sections—the actual coastal vineyards, marked by marine soils, cool temperatures and saline ocean breezes—and the warmer, drier vineyards further inland, which are still heavily influenced by the Pacific but not quite with same intensity.
Contained within the appellation are the much smaller Fort Ross-Seaview and Petaluma Gap AVAs.
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, not Pinot noir. 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 Village or Cru level wines. So "red Burgundy" still necessarily refers to Pinot noir.