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Fort Ross Vineyard Pinotage 2013

Pinotage from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
    0% ABV
    • WW92
    • WW91
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    0% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    While Pinotage shares many traits with Pinot Noir, there is an earthy brambleness that distinguishes this varietal. Captivating aromas of dark fruit, elderberry and cassis are interwoven with hints of mocha, sandalwood and just the slightest hint of gamey notes in the background. This full-bodied, nearly opaque, inky Pinotage has a concentrated depth of luscious bold flavors that envelop the palate with tiers of blackberry, dark plum and blackcurrant with allspice and sassafras all chiming in. The defined dark berried fruit is in complete harmony with the firm tannins, tight acidity and lengthy, composed finish. The textural complexities and intensity pair beautifully with exotic spices, Italian food, as well as smoked and grilled meats. This wine has been patiently cellared until optimal for release. It will continue to benefit from cellaring for years to come.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Fort Ross Vineyard

    Fort Ross Vineyard

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    Fort Ross Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
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    Nestled on a sunny coastal ridge, overlooking the Pacific Ocean a mile below, Fort Ross'"True Sonoma Coast" vineyard is one of the closest, if not the closest, to the ocean in all of California. From the vineyard you can see the breaking surf and the misty silhouettes of Bodega Head and Pt. Reyes far below. The vineyard's high elevation above the coastal fog and its proximity to the ocean provide a gentle, sunny and temperate climate that has proved to be very favorable for the slow and even ripening of Burgundian varietals.

    Sonoma Coast

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    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.

    The Sonoma Coast is highly regarded for elegant Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and, increasingly, cool-climate Syrah. The wines have high acidity, moderate alcohol, firm tannin, and balanced ripeness.

    Pinotage

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    A distinctively earthy and rustic variety, Pinotage is South Africa’s signature grape. In 1925 viticulturists crossed finicky Pinot Noir and productive, heat-tolerant Cinsault, and created, surprisingly, a variety both darker and more tannic than either of its parents. Pinotage at first seemed nearly impossible to tame, with its bold profile and wild flavors but advances in viticultural and winemaking techniques have since helped to make Pinotage wines quite alluring. Today it is a popular South African export both as a single varietal wine and in “Cape blends.” It is grown very minimally outside of South Africa.

    In the Glass

    There is no mistaking the smell of Pinotage—common descriptors include tobacco, smoke, tar, bacon, licorice, hoisin sauce and dark fruits of plum and blackberry. The flavors are bold, and tannins are firm but ripe—in fact, many Pinotage wines bear more resemblance to Australian Shiraz than to Pinot Noir.

    Perfect Pairings

    For a wine this powerful, food should be equally bold, and gets bonus points for mirroring Pinotage’s sweet and sour flavors. Classic smoky South African braai (barbecue) is the most obvious match, while grilled curry sausage, lamb biryani or richly spiced beef stew would be equally welcome.

    Sommelier Secret

    The name “Pinotage” is a subtle portmanteau: The Pinot part is obvious, but the second half is a bit confusing. In the early 1900s, Cinsault was known in South Africa as “Hermitage”—hence Pinotage. The somewhat less appealing “Herminoir” was also considered.

    EPC38148_2013 Item# 507386