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Zepaltas Russian River Pinot Noir 2013

Pinot Noir from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
  • WE90
13.7% ABV
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13.7% ABV

Winemaker Notes

On the nose this wine has aromas of cedar, raspberry and dried herbs. The palate is refreshing, light bodied and wildly aromatic. Sturdy structure is provided courtesy of the fine-grit tannins from stem inclusion (about 30%.) This wine is ready for early drinking, but there is no reason that it will not get better and better with time in the cellar.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 90
Wine Enthusiast
The winemaker puts a light touch on the oak here, ratcheting it down to 30% new, all French, preserving a freshness of cherry, cranberry and earthy herb. A blend of three vineyard sites, including the single-vineyard designate, Nunes, the wine is well-integrated and balanced, offering an intriguing tartness on the finish.
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Zepaltas

Zepaltas Wines

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Zepaltas Wines, Russian River, Sonoma County, California
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Ryan Zepaltas passion for wine snowballed over time. Ryan grew up in Wisconsin drinking beer and couldn’t recall wine ever being a part of his family culture. All the adults in his life would sip on Manhattan’s, Old Fashioneds and drink local beers. The first time he ever noticed wine was when he was dining with his next-door neighbor. The retired teacher, Mr. Sutherland, would keep a jug of Carlo Rossi Burgundy on the floor at the head of the table where he sat.

Fast forward to summer 1998 in the Russian River Valley. Ryan had just moved to Sebastopol to live with his aunt and uncle. He made friends with Mike Mendenhall, the then cellar master at La Crema, who would later offer him a job.

He gradually found the winemaking process and the work more interesting. He stayed on for a couple of harvests but soon found out about harvest jobs in other countries. It was working harvest at Villa Maria under Michelle Richardson where Ryan truly discovered his passion for wine. When he returned back to the states, he worked all over Sonoma County doing whatever cellar work was available. Eventually, he would hear about a harvest opportunity at Siduri. He interviewed with Adam and Dianna Lee and has been at Siduri ever since.

Ryan has made a ton of great wines with Siduri and has had a blast the whole time (and still does to this day). He decided that one day he was going to make his own wines in the style that he envisioned and would start his own project on the side… thus, Zepaltas Wines was born.

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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.

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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.

SHR102919_2013 Item# 136068