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Marcassin Marcassin Vineyard Pinot Noir 2003

Pinot Noir from Sonoma County, California
  • RP99
  • WS95
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Winemaker Notes

"The 2003 Pinot Noir Marcassin Vineyard borders on perfection. Gorgeous floral notes intermixed with steak tartare, black raspberry, sweet cherry, plum, earth, and spice characteristics almost overwhelm the olfactory senses. Full-bodied with good acidity, sweet but present tannin, and a long, 50-second finish, this is a magnificent Pinot Noir. It's hard to choose between this cuvee and the Blue Slide Ridge 2003 Pinot. Bottom line ... life is too short not to have both.

Tasting at Marcassin with Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer is one of the more satisfying appointments a wine critic could have. This is commitment to excellence at its highest level. An unwavering, uncompromising brilliance and focus is reflected in not only meticulous work in the vineyard, but also in highly detailed winemaking that consistently succeeds in producing some of the finest Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs in the world. Even more interesting, since they have rarely given interviews, will be the two books that Turley and Wetlaufer are writing independently of each other. They possess an accumulation of knowledge and experience that is, as the advertising industry would say, "priceless." Hopefully some of that will soon make its way onto the written pages for future generations."
-Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

Critical Acclaim

RP 99
The Wine Advocate

WS 95
Wine Spectator

An immense wine that's rich and concentrated, with taut, supple, firmly structured blueberry, wild berry and blackberry fruit that coats the palate. No shortage of tannins either, yet it's very deep and persistent, ending with smoky oak touches. Drink now through 2013. 450 cases made.

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Marcassin

Marcassin

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Marcassin, , California
Marcassin
If you haven’t heard of Helen Turley, or tasted one of her wines, you’ve definitely not been paying close enough attention to the wines coming out of California in the last 10 years. She is arguably one of the most influential winemakers in the business, receiving critical acclaim for almost every wine she touches. Aside from her own boutique winery, Marcassin, which she runs with husband John Wetlaufer, Helen has been the consulting winemaker for some of the best wineries in the country – Colgin, Bryant Family, Martinelli – just to name a few.

Marcassin (french for 'young wild boar') is a VERY small winery – in fact it’s so small that the wines have actually been made at the Martinelli winery in Russian River Valley. Located on the Sonoma Coast, the Marcassin vineyard is planted to 50/50 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and is about 10 acres in size. Fruit for the other vineyard designated wines is sourced from other neighboring vineyards. Marcassin will always be a small winery; John & Helen feel the perfect size is 100 barrels, enough for 2,500 cases.

Helen’s winemaking philosophy is simple: great vineyards, meticulously farmed, limited yield, long hang time and natural yeast. She approaches every project with these same priorities.

Home to some of the world’s finest and longest-lived sweet and dry white wines, the Mosel is a region of Germany formerly known as Mosel-Saar-Ruwer—named thusly for the three rivers that flow through its dramatic valleys. Geology, climate and topography are paramount here, and the wines produced communicate a distinct sense of place. In addition to being prized for their heat-retaining properties, slate-based soils lend a stony minerality to the wines, contributing to some of the most recognizable terroir in the world. Cool temperatures necessitate the use of the region’s rivers to reflect heat onto the vineyards, and the best wines are made from sites with south or southwest facing slopes to receive sufficient direct sunlight for ripening. The breathtakingly steep slopes that straddle the river banks cannot be worked by machine, contributing to a high cost of labor (and treacherous working conditions).

Riesling is by far the most important and prestigious grape of the Mosel, grown on approximately 60% of the region’s vineyard land—typically the sites that provide the best combination of sunlight, soil type, and altitude. These wines, dry or sweet, are distinguished by marked acidity, low alcohol, and intense flavors of wet stone, citrus, and stone fruit. With age, a pleasing aroma of petroleum often develops. The lesser plots are mainly planted with lower-maintenance but relatively neutral varieties like [Müller-Thurgau] and other German crosses, but Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) can perform quite well here.

Riesling

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A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining easily identifiable typicity. This versatile grape can be just as enjoyable dry or sweet, young or old, still or sparkling, and can age longer than nearly any other white variety. Riesling is best known in Germany and Alsace, and is also of great importance in Austria. The variety has also been particularly successful in Australia’s Clare and Eden Valleys, New Zealand, Oregon, Washington, cooler regions of California, and the Finger Lakes in New York.

In the Glass

Riesling is low in alcohol, with high acidity, steely minerality, and stone fruit, spice, citrus, and floral notes. At its ripest it leans towards juicy peach and nectarine, and pineapple, while in cooler climes it is more redolent of meyer lemon, lime, and green apple. With age, Riesling can become truly revelatory, developing unique, complex aromatics, often with a hint of gasoline.

Perfect Pairings

Riesling is very versatile, enjoying the company of sweet-fleshed fish like sole, most Asian food, especially Thai and Vietnamese (bottlings with some residual sugar and low alcohol are the perfect companions for dishes with substantial spice), and freshly shucked oysters. Sweeter styles work well with fruit-based desserts.

Sommelier Secret

It can be difficult to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling, and German labeling laws do not make things any easier. Look for the world “trocken” to indicate a dry wine, or “halbtrocken” or “feinherb” for off-dry. Some producers will include a helpful sweetness scale on the back label—happily, a growing trend.

MVVMARCMARC_2003 Item# 94718

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