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William Knuttel Pinot Noir 2014
The 2014 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir features aromas of ripe black cherry, pomegranate, and raspberry, tied together with a dollop of spicy French oak. Flavors are bright on entry, and expand broadly in the mid-palate. A dark core of fruit and spice lingers in the finish, and the wine’s balance suggests pairing with white meats and seafood, but heartier dishes will also be finely complemented.
Label Art: Designer Jeffrey Caldewey captured William Knuttel’s kin-etic wine world with Etienne-Jules Marey’s 1890 “chrono-photograph,” in which multiple exposures are superimposed to show the complete motion of “le coup d’epee.” The image meta-phorically highlights the balance, finesse, power and poise valued by the wine-maker.
William Knuttel Winery is family owned and operated, and proud to have a tight knit crew that we consider part of the family. We create both high quality affordable wines as well as ultra-premium single vineyard and specialty wines at our facility in Sonoma, CA, where we also provide custom crush services for our many clients. We distribute locally, nationally, and from time to time, internationally. William Knuttel Winery is a long-time member of Family Winemakers of California and often participates in their Annual Northern California Wine Tastings in San Francisco. We also have a selection of wines year-round at Napa Wine Company's cooperative Tasting Room, located in Oakville.
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.
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. 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 Villages or Cru level wines.