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Joseph Swan Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Cuvee de Trois 2007

Pinot Noir from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
  • WS93
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Winemaker Notes

#34 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2009

Jim Laube's notes on our wines were very good. Of the C3 he wrote "shows this iconic Sonoma winery at its best, with a terrific wine at a great price". He goes on, "Shows wonderful balance and purity of flavor, depth and complexity built around spicy wild berry, black cherry, mineral, anise and spice... Full-bodied, fresh and lively. The finish sails on. Drink now through 2013." I couldn't have said it better. On a final note: wine from the same four vineyards (I know, I can't count) went into this wine as has been the case for several years. The blend is never the same as we attempt to make not only the best vineyard wines but the best Cuvée de Trois each year.

Critical Acclaim

WS 93
Wine Spectator

Offers great balance and purity of flavor, depth and complexity built around spicy wild berry, black cherry, mineral, anise and spice. Full-bodied, fresh and lively. The finish sails on. Drink now through 2013. 1,900 cases made.

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Joseph Swan

Joseph Swan

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Joseph Swan, , California
Joseph Swan
The winery was named by Joe Swan when he founded it forty eight years ago. Joe came to winemaking from an unlikely background. In 1967 he purchased a small farm on Laguna Road near the town of Forestville in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County. The property consisted of 13 acres of old Zinfandel vines, fruit trees and pasture along with several structures including an old barn and a nearly 100 year old house.

Although nearly 50 years old, Joseph Swan Vineyards is still young at heart. The passion and curiosity that Joe Swan brought to his craft are still evident in the winery today. Located in the heart of the famed Russian River Valley, now often proclaimed ground zero for great pinot noir, we embrace the artisanal spirit that defines this amazing growing region. The wineries roots were in old vine zinfandel and estate chardonnay and pinot noir. Today, we continue to embrace those wines but also, in recognition of the amazing quality and personality grapes grown by talented and dedicated winegrowers can achieve in this wonderful region, we have added a number of other wines to our portfolio. Each of our wines is a unique expression of its terroir and the vintage. While all carry the hallmark winery signature of balance and personality, they span a broad range of aromas, flavors and textures. As our winemaker often says, “the journey is often more exciting than the destination”. Come and join the journey with us!

Bordeaux

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One of the most important wine regions of the world both qualitatively and quantitatively, Bordeaux is a powerhouse producer of wines of all colors, sweetness levels, and price points. Separated from the Atlantic ocean by a coastal pine forest, the mostly flat region has a mild maritime climate marked by cool wet winters and a warm, damp growing season, though annual differences vary enough to make vintage variation quite significant. Unpredictable weather at harvest time may negatively impact the ability of cornerstone variety Cabernet Sauvignon to ripen fully, while humid conditions can encourage the spread of rot and disease (although in the case of the region’s sweet white wines, “noble” rot known as botrytis is highly desirable). The Gironde estuary is a defining feature of Bordeaux, splitting the region into the Left Bank and the Right Bank. The vast Entre-Deux-Mers appellation lies in between.

The Left Bank, dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, contains the Médoc, Graves, and Sauternes, as well as most of the region’s most famous chateaux. Here, Merlot is commonly planted as an insurance policy in case Cabernet fails to fully ripen in difficult years. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec may also be used in blends. This tends to be the more structured and age-worthy side of Bordeaux. Merlot is the principal variety of the Right Bank, with Cabernet Franc as its primary sidekick, with the other three varieties available for blending. The key appellations here include St. Emilion and Pomerol, whose wines are often plush, supple, and more imminently ready for drinking. Dry and sweet white wines are produced throughout the region from Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, and sometimes Muscadelle or Sauvignon Gris. Some of the finest dry whites can be found in the the Graves sub-appellation of Pessac-Léognan, while Sauternes is undisputedly the gold standard for sweet wines. Small amounts of rosé and sparkling wine are made in Bordeaux as well.

An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

In the Glass

Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry, and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco, and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

Perfect Pairings

Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

Sommelier Secret

Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

NXIJSPNRRCDT_2007 Item# 101997

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