Joseph Phelps Freestone Vineyards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2017
The 2017 Pinot Noir opens with jammy red fruit and freshly picked strawberries followed by tangy Bing cherry, raspberry and baking spice notes. A balanced, youthfully focused wine that finishes with white pepper spice and hints of tangerine peel.
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Leading off the Pinot Noirs, the 2017 Pinot Noir Freestone Vineyards comes from a handful of sites and spent 13 months in one-third new French oak. Mostly destemmed (80%), its ruby hue is followed by a beautiful bouquet of cranberries, caramelized cherries, orange rind, and spicy aromas and flavors. It's nicely textured, balanced, has good acidity, and a great finish.
This wine’s clean lines shepherd translucent red-berry fruit toward darker tart cherry-skin flavors. It gains floral notes as it opens with air, a lush and gentle pinot for seared duck breast.
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.
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.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”