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Joseph Phelps Freestone Vineyards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
  • JS93
  • RP93
  • W&S93
0% ABV
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3.6 7 Ratings
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3.6 7 Ratings
0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Grapes are picked during the cool pre-dawn hours under lights and sorted before being gravity fed to tank for a long natural fermentation using an overall average of 17% whole clusters in the final blend. Regular punch downs produced a wine with silky texture, elegant structure and a distinctive Freestone spice character prevalent throughout the western edge of the Sonoma Coast. This latest vintage of Pinot Noir has a pleasing bouquet of plum, black currant, baking spices and sweet vanilla. Fresh and focused with silky, textural layers of ripe raspberry, black cherry, dried herbs and tangerine peel culminating in a long, elegant finish.

Critical Acclaim

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JS 93
James Suckling
Very attractive baking spices and gently toasty oak across ripe raspberries and strawberries with light savory baking spices and bergamot. The palate has a bright crunchy red cherry-berry core. Tannins are succulent and the freshness is alluring. Drink or hold.
RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Medium ruby-purple in color, the 2016 Pinot Noir Freestone Vineyard leaps from the glass with an intense perfume of violets, redcurrants and black cherries with hints of black pepper, lavender, cinnamon stick and black tea. The palate is medium-bodied and very elegant yet wonderfully intense with a firm frame of fine-grained tannins and fantastic freshness, finishing long and fragrant.
W&S 93
Wine & Spirits
In 2000 and 2001, the Phelps family planted two vineyards in Freestone, eight miles from the Pacific coast. The two sites, Pastorale and Quarter Moon, contribute equally to this estate-grown pinot noir; both are planted on Goldridge soil, a well-drained sandy loam over sandstone, the remnants of an inland sea. The vines deliver a wine that’s fresh, with crisp lines. Spicy green edges in the tannins keep it firm and tight, then it ends on notes of cranberries and cool hints of jasmine.
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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.

SOU913848_2016 Item# 485155