Strawberry, currant and dried Maraschino cherry fill the bouquet of the 2017 Fort Ross-Seaview Pinot Noir, with a trailing edge of cherry chapstick and warm candle wax. Described by winemaker Kirk Venge as “intensely fresh,” this young wine is wound up for the long haul. The Del Dotto Chinghale Vineyard in Fort Ross-Seaview sits at 1,000 feet overlooking the Pacific, occupying steep rocky soils above the fog line, where there’s plenty of sunshine to buffer the cold coastal winds. It’s a difficult site for vines to thrive, and Pinots from this location have proven themselves to be one-of-a-kind and sensational. You’ll pick up notes of tart cherry pie, light rhubarb, and a dusting of cinnamon spice from the 40% new Francois Freres oak. It will be exciting to see this Pinot’s development over the next 15 years.
The old vineyard trio of Moss Creek, Korte Ranch and Luvisi has come through again and delivered the goods for one of the finest vintages of this wine we’ve made to date. The 2017 Old Vine Zinfandel shows precision, balance and typicity of the varietal, all directly related to the age of the vines from which it comes. Clove, vanillin, and subtle winter spices are enveloped by nuances of ripe pomegranate and bright red fruit. Fleshy strawberry and dark currants are focused and wound around the tongue. The tannins are fine and very long in the mouthfeel. It’s certainly ready to enjoy today, but this 'Old Vine' Zinfandel will be drinking its best in five to eight years.
This is always one of the most anticipated bottlings of the year. The Kenefick Ranch sourced Petite Sirah presents an impenetrable, inky dark color, and a healthy serving of cooking spices and ripe black fruit from the get-go. Plum reduction, dried cherry and campfire scents fill the nose, while the mouthfeel is bold with polished youthful tannins. Chewy, rich black fruit, vanilla, black cherry and clove unfold in layers on the palate. You could open this bottle in 2019 for a summer evening by the grill, or else lay it in the cellar, where it will continue to evolve for a solid 20 years.