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Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2008

Pinot Noir from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
    14.5% ABV
    • WE91
    • JS91
    • W&S92
    • WS88
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    14.5% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    This vintage reveals the complex personality that the Russian River Valley brings to Pinot Noir. In this seventh vintage, there is a complexity to the aromas - red cherry, cranberry and forest floor are accented with anise, tobacco, rhubarb and cedar/cigar box oak. Elegantly structured with great length, the wine is bright and focused with an acidity that dances on the palate. Fruit flavors of red cherry, berry, and just a touch of cranberry are accented with barrel spice and balanced oak that is wrapped in a clean, bright, lingering acidity. This is a classic Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Pinot Noir that will continue to evolve over time, and I am sure there are many more complexities yet to be experienced in this wine.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Sonoma-Cutrer

    Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards

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    Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards, Russian River, Sonoma County, California
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    Located in the cool Sonoma Coast viticultural region, Sonoma-Cutrer vineyards was founded in 1973 by Brice Cutrer Jones. The winery is dedicated exclusively to the production of Estate Bottled Chardonnay from its own vineyards. Since 1981, Sonoma Cutrer Vineyards has produced three "vineyard designated" wines from the distinct soils of Les Pierres, the Cutrer Vineyard, and Russian River Ranches.

    Russian River

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    A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, the Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river that flows through it. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.

    Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, farther from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

    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.

    YNG290421_2008 Item# 121282