Scenic Root Winegrowers Forager Pinot Noir 2017
Jonathan lived, worked and studied in France and later earned a BS degree in Agriculture and an MBA here in California. He enjoyed a career in the ultra-premium wine industry and has worked with some of the best – Domaine Louis Jadot (Burgundy), Robert Mondavi & Schramsberg (Napa Valley), Australia's iconic Penfolds and several Bordeaux chateaux.
Susan is a recognized leader in the "service" side of the wine industry with extensive training and experience in California and Europe. After attending university in Italy, she earned her BA degree in the US and soon began working as Wine Director for a large & prestigious Bay Area-based restaurant group. Today she is one of the most prominent restaurant wine buyers in North America. She tastes and evaluates hundreds of wines per week – something that almost no other winemaker can bring to the table, yet she brings this insight to bear on our wines.
Together, Jonathon and Susan Pey bring decades of education and experience to their "small lot" winegrowing. Unlike the big wineries that produce every varietal under the sun, they specialize in a handful of wines – all in small quantities. As a CCOF - Certified Organic winery, they encourage environmentally friendly practices at many stages, from conserving soils and water, managing pests and using a natural approach in winemaking. For the winemakers, natural winegrowing means producing the finest quality wines while working in harmony with nature and protecting the health of the earth and its people.
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.
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.
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.
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.