Hartford Court Jennifer's Pinot Noir 2016
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Red plums, mulberries, oyster shell, and even a hint of iron all emerge from the 2016 Pinot Noir Jennifer's, which comes from a cooler, marine-influenced site south of Sebastopol. Medium to full-bodied, straight, focused, and beautifully balanced as well as incredibly elegant, this is a remarkable Russian River Valley Pinot Noir that does everything right. I suspect a year or two of bottle age will do it well, and it should evolve for over a decade.
Making delicious wines of high personality is directly related to the difficult locations of the Hartford family's vineyard sources, the limited production of their bottlings and the varietals they use. "Character through adversity" is an expression that the Hartford family believes to apply to both people and grapevines, and they feel that surviving adversity builds character, and personality, in both.
The Hartford Family makes wines under two marks, one of which is Hartford Court. Hartford Court bottlings are small lots of high-personality single vineyard Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays that express the distinctive qualities inherent in each vineyard's terroir - the interplay of soil, slope, exposure and climate. The fruit is sourced from the Russian River Valley, Green Valley and Sonoma Coast appellations.
While the Russian River Valley is a large appellation with multiple climate zones and soil types, it is best known for cool-climate varieties, with Pinot Noir as the most celebrated. The grapes benefit from a reliable late afternoon flow of Pacific Ocean fog through the Petaluma Gap and along the Russian River Valley that ensures slow and steady ripening and the preservation of grape acidity. Today many of California’s most highly regarded Pinot Noir vineyards are in the Russian River Valley, along with its sub-appellation, Green Valley.
Historically Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs had bright red fruit and delicate earthy, mineral notes. But changes in viticultural and winemaking practices have led to stylistic changes in some of the region’s wines. Adjustments to canopy management, among other techniques, have resulted in riper fruit and bolder wines as well. These show flavors of black cherry, blackberry, cola, spice and darker, loamy earth tones, accenting traditional Pinot Noir notes of strawberry, raspberry and light cherry.