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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 difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.

In the Glass

Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.

RSHSUMMAPNOIR_2010 Item# 128807