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Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2008

Pinot Noir from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
    14.5% ABV
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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 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.

    YNG290421_2008 Item# 121282