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Stewart Russian River Pinot Noir 2011

Pinot Noir from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
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    Winemaker Notes

    Hailing from what is often referred to as the "true" Sonoma Coast AVA, only a few miles from the Pacific Ocean, this Pinot Noir bursts forth with rich aromatics of blackberry, violet, and smoky tobacco. The palate is elegant yet dense, featuring flavors of pomegranate and blackcurrant. Savory and subtle notes of dried mushroom and clove reveal themselves in a lingering finish while fine tannins and well integrated French oak provide backbone to this engaging Pinot Noir.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Stewart

    Stewart

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    Stewart, Russian River, Sonoma County, California
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    Michael Stewart came to the Napa Valley in 1999, intent on making high-quality wines that meet the expectations Napa Valley wines demand. His first venture was the purchase of Juliana Vineyards, a 1,000 acre vineyards in the Napa Valley appellation. He also sought out the best vineyards, the best grapes, and finally the world-renowned oenologist Paul Hobbs to start the Stewart brand. Today, 13 years after Michael came to Napa Valley, his son, James and daughter, Caroline have joined the family business

    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.

    HNYSCLPNR11C_2011 Item# 140868