Thursday, June 21, 2012

L'Oliveto - A 2010 Russian River Pinot Noir STAR

A 2010 RRV Pinot Noir I say?!  I had a bottle open at last Saturday's Pinot Days in San Francisco on the Brack Mountain table.  Chatting our lineup to a few hundred Pinot Noir lovers throughout the day, it was so fun to explain how special the L'Oliveto Pinot Noir was and how it reminded me of the 2010 harvest I'll never forget!

I sat front and center in the middle of Olivet Lane vineyards during the 2010 harvest season.  The 2010 vintage will most certainly go down in history as being one of the most extreme and difficult in California. The vintage began with a cold spring and early season rains, followed by thick fog that would remain until late morning or early afternoon. In mid-August, the cool summer was then hit with record-high temperatures, which hit above 110+ degrees Fahrenheit. This heat was devastating for many of my winemakers and grape-growing friends.  

2010 RRV Pinot Noir
Overall 2010 was an extremely cool year for the grapes, so many vineyards cut their canopy way back for more sun exposure by mid-August.  So I was completely freaked out by the 110+ degree heat spike that hit...I was fresh off a Texas summer and 1) hated this heat at night since no AC is anywhere in NorCal and 2) a few days after the temperature shot up, the grapes shriveled up like 4 day old birthday party balloons.  I took many guests out to the vineyard to show the damage after those hot days, explaining how the tiny stems act as umbilical cords feeding oxygen to the fruit - the stems were so terribly fried by the hot sun and record setting heat.  It's a treasure now for any winery to have much 2010 RRV Pinot Noir, so the tiny amounts that were made by the smaller producers are THE wines to get your hands on for sure - created with MEGA TLC in 2010!

So I've tasted a few handfuls of the 2010 Russian River wines, mostly whites until recently.  As for Pinot - most have tasted just fine and a few delicious though not too many utterly spectacular Pinot Noirs - until  - I was poured a glass of our 2010 L'Oliveto Russian River Pinot Noir a few months ago. Spectacular then and also tasted again this past weekend at Pinot Days. SHAZAAM!  

I blame the good fortune of this wine on our winemakers love of acid in his wines.  The magical mouthfeel brought me right back to what I love about pretty Russian River fruit, a Joseph Swan RRV Pinot Noir hooked me right after college and I haven't stopped seeking out great RRV wines in nearly 2 decades (gawh makes me feel so old). So I must share one of our smallest batches of pinot noir created by winemaker Dan Fitzgerald - he made about 193 cases in total.

The 2010 L'Oliveto Pinot Noir was sourced from Terry Noreen’s Tobias Glenn Vineyard in the northern Russian River Valley. The vineyard sits on a steep hillside facing west with north-south row orientation to gain maximum sun exposure. Fog settles into this area nearly every afternoon and generally does not dissipate until late morning. The slope, exposure and row orientation take full advantage of the afternoon sunshine. Yield was 2.75 tons/acre.

Fermentation- All ferments were completed in open top, stainless steel tanks with manual punch downs up to 5 times daily. We use only indigenous yeasts/malolactic cultures for primary and secondary fermentations. Wines are pressed off just before going dry to preserve a supple phenolic structure as well as some barrel fermentation for harmony with the oak.

Harvest Date: September 22nd -­‐ 26th, 2010

Yeast: Indigenous

Cooperage & Aging: The wine was aged in 100% French oak, 30% of it new for 9 months.

Bottling: August 2011

Sensory Notes: Color is deep Venetian red, the nose offers raspberries, plums, tamarind, some cinnamon spice and black tea. The palate is lush and opulently silky in texture. There is a bing cherry core of fruit enveloped in gamey earthiness that finishes with strawberry preserves and a hint of nutmeg.

Final Technical Information:
pH: 3.55    TA: .60    Alc: 14.1%

You can find this bottle at your favorite wine shop (just ask for it!) around $32 and soon available on our website -  Seriously can not believe how much I like our 2010 Pinot Noirs, thrilled with them all actually, soo exciting to be a part of the Brack Mountain dream! - Cheers - Ali

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