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Rivers-Marie Summa Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010

Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
  • RP92
  • BH91
13.8% ABV
  • V93
  • V93
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13.8% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Nice to see the 98 block of Summa return to the lineup. After not being happy with the 2009 version, we spent most of the off season trying to figure out what we could do to give this wine a bit more dimension. After a lot of tasting, the one current unexplored input became obvious, stems. The vintage and its long hang time certainly allowed for the possibility. Not knowing quite what to expect, we settled on 10% as our trial number and couldn't be happier with the results. For us, the wine always lacked an extra degree of breadth at bottling. The stems seem to have filled the wine out a bit giving it more intellectual interest and also helping to firm the wine up a bit. The added structure carries the finish a bit further than normal and makes for a fresher seeming wine. It cuts into the initial sappiness we look for in the mid-palate but with time in the decanter, the classic Summa texture works its way to the forefront.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2010 Pinot Noir Summa Vineyard is the first wine Brown made with whole clusters, 10% in this vintage. Plums, cherries, mint, tobacco and incense waft from the glass from this attractive, mid-weight Pinot. A finessed, supple finish leaves a lasting impression. It will be interesting to watch this wine evolve, and specifically to see if the use of whole clusters is an experiment or if it becomes a staple of the approach here. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2020.
BH 91
A ripe and moderately pitched nose of dark berry fruit, plum, dried flowers and spice nuances leads to rich, delicious and round medium-bodied flavors that possess fine depth on the succulent but focused and mouth coating finish. There is good mid-palate concentration and ample amounts of dry extract that imparts a real sense of volume to the backend. While there is already very solid complexity it seems reasonably clear that there is much more to come and though this presently suave and seductively textured effort could be drunk now with pleasure, I would advise cellaring it for at least 5 to 7 years first.
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Rivers-Marie, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California
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Single variety wines made to reflect the vineyard & vintage from which they came. Owned by Thomas Rivers Brown & Genevieve Marie Welsh.

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.

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.

RSHSUMMAPNOIR_2010 Item# 128807