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Joseph Phelps Freestone Vineyards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2006

Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
  • WE94
  • BH91
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  • CG90
750ML / 0% ABV
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750ML / 0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The long growing season in 2006 provided the winery with Pinot Noir grapes that were in nearly immaculate condition, with crunchy skins, lots of perfume and excellent tannin development. The winemaking team took every opportunity to utilize these beautiful grapes most effectively. We maximized the use of whole berries in each tank and also experimented with some whole cluster additions to the fermentations. Both of these techniques add to the silky texture and accentuate the spicy characteristics that are native to the cool Freestone region. This Pinot Noir is a selection of the best wines produced during the 2006 harvest. We selected the groups with the best balance of tannin, flavor concentration, aroma and acidity. The resulting blend offers hints of sandalwood, wild blackberry and balsamic reduction, dried tea leaves, and a mélange of Indian spices. This wine is serious, yet restrained, and has a backbone of natural acidity, tannin and minerality to provide the structure necessary for aging.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
WE 94
Wine Enthusiast
A very fine, ageable Pinot that shows a feral, exotic quality that is rare, but always welcome. Grown on the true, cool coastal strip of the appellation, it’s dry and crisp in citrusy acids, with intricate flavors of wild cherries, balsam, maple syrup, teriyaki-grilled beef, licorice, cola and Asian spices. Such is the tannic structure that it should evolve over the next 8–10 years.
BH 91
Burghound.com
A moderately high-toned nose of red pinot fruit, violet, menthol and spice hints introduces delicious, intense, round and sappy medium-bodied flavors that possess good depth and length. This is a generous yet stylish effort that offers good depth and about the only nit is a trace of backend warmth. Adding to the appeal is that with 20 to 30 minutes of air, this can be enjoyed now though it clearly has the stuffing to improve over the next 4 to 7 years.
WS 90
Wine Spectator
Firm and intense. Spicy wild berry, loamy earth, dusty herb, sage and mineral notes fan out nicely, gaining depth and dimension on the long, complex finish. Drink now through 2012. 2,700 cases made.
CG 90
Connoisseurs' Guide
There is no dearth of richness, muscle or mass about this very ripe and solidly fruity young wine. It never gives in to softness at any point, and, to the contrary, it is nicely balanced and shows a slight spine of firming acid and tannin that bodes exceptionally well for its future. All it needs to age into better is to be allowed to rest in the cellar a bit.
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Joseph Phelps

Joseph Phelps Vineyards

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Joseph Phelps Vineyards, California
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Joseph Phelps Vineyards is a family-owned winery committed to crafting world class, estate-grown wines. Founded in 1973 when Joe Phelps purchased a former cattle ranch near St. Helena in the Napa Valley, the winery now controls and farms nearly 375 acres of vines on eight estate vineyards in St. Helena, the Stags Leap District, Oakville, Rutherford, Oak Knoll District, Carneros and South Napa Valley. In 1999, the Phelps family added 100 acres of vineyard property near the town of Freestone on the Sonoma Coast, where Phelps now grows Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Phelps is best known for its flagship Napa Valley blend of red Bordeaux varietals, Insignia, first produced in 1974. Awarded Wine Spectator's "Wine of the Year" in 2005, Insignia is widely regarded as a qualitative benchmark for California winemaking.

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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.

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Pinot Noir

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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.

Perfect Pairings

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.

Sommelier Secret

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.

MRE106252_2006 Item# 106252