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Orogeny Vineyards Pinot Noir Green Valley 2008

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

    The notably cool 2008 vintage gave our Green Valley Pinot Noir layers of crystalline, red-fruit expression. Cranberry, cherry and rose petal notes fill the bright aromas and then echo on the silky flavors. Hints of Chinese five-spice and mocha develop as the wine expands across the palate. Balanced acidity and supple tannins structure the flavors and carry them through the spicy, fruit-imbued finish. Grilled salmon comes to mind as the perfect foil for this marine-influenced Pinot Noir.

    Critical Acclaim

    Orogeny Vineyards

    Orogeny Vineyards

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    Orogeny Vineyards, , California
    Orogeny Vineyards
    Pinot Noir, more than any other grape, reflects where it is grown. Orogeny pays tribute to the land with their name. Orogeny is a geological term that comes from Greek oro, "mountain," and -geny, "birth." It refers to the process during which the collisions and separations of the earth's crust form mountains. A series of orogenic episodes in Sonoma County near the Pacific Ocean formed the mountains and streams that created Green Valley, the unique source for Orogeny Vineyard's grapes.

    They focus on cool-climate Pinot Noir from Green Valley, the coldest region of the famed Russian River Valley. Fog flows from the Pacific Coast along the Russian River and through the Petaluma Wind Gap, converging on this small area.

    Orogeny's grapes are grown on five small vineyards, each only five to ten acres, which were selected to display the bright fruit characteristics of classic Green Valley Pinot Noir. Their limited size permits Orogeny to use hands-on farming techniques. The vines are planted on ridges in Gold Ridge soils, a mix of sandy loam over sandstone and clay. These sites provide excellent drainage, which promotes even ripening and concentrated flavors.

    Napa Valley

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    One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

    Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

    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.

    SWS307398_2008 Item# 109016

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