Fort Ross Sea Slopes Pinot Noir 2014 | Burgundy Style Pinot with a flair
The Fort Ross Sea Slopes Pinot Noir 2014 hails from their estate Fort Ross Vineyard. Notably perched literally on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. From this magical vantage point comes a stunning ruby-crimson Pinot with garnet edges. Also, Lavish aromas of warm cherry skins and rose petal notes mingle with crushed raspberries and lamp earth. While on the palate, the fruit has a warm ripeness to it. Yet underscored by lovely dark cola, tinged with mushroom and truffle notes scented with sarsaparilla and licorice. A magnificent effort by Winemaker Jeff Pisoni.
The Fort Ross Sea Slopes Pinot Noir 2014 is drawn entirely from Fort Ross Vineyard. Furthermore hand-harvested, row by row, between September 2nd and September 23rd. Pisoni vinified the wine entirely in French cooperage. And bottled the 2014 “Sea Slopes” unfined and unfiltered. Parker called it “fresh, lively,” and in a “Côte de Beaune style,” before suggesting it be enjoyed “over the next 5-7 years.”
Fort Ross Winery & Sonoma Coast
So Sonoma Coast’s prized Fort Ross-Seaview AVA is home to heavyweights like Peter Michael, Martinelli, Pahlmeyer, Hirsch, and Nobles. Here, Fort Ross is a standout sensation.
In 1988 owners Lester and Linda Schwartz purchased a section of virgin forest and grasslands in the high coastal ridges of the Sonoma coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Rather, when told by academics that it was too risky to plant a vineyard on these cool, foggy coastal ridges so close to the Ocean they were undeterred. So they went about experimenting for several years with assorted clones, rootstocks, and trellising systems. As a result, they concluded that the property had the potential to grow exceptional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Today, Lester and Linda work closely with Winemaker Jeff Pisoni, who came to Fort Ross as winemaker in 2009. They regularly walk the vineyard, making viticultural decisions and ultimately determining when best to harvest each block. Furthermore, Lester and Linda continue to oversee the day-to-day vineyard operations. Hence, by working tirelessly to carve this spectacular vineyard out of an untamed, extreme location, they have proved the academics wrong.
Winemaker Jeff Pisoni
In 2009, Fort Ross owners caught the attention of one of the most critically acclaimed winemakers on the coast. Jeff Pisoni was offered a glass of the 2007 Fort Ross Pinot Noir while dining at the Ritz-Carlton. Winemaker Pisoni has a brilliant palate. He’s also an impossibly difficult critic. While always seeming to find fault in his own wines when experienced tasters find none. So, Jeff was blown away “by the luscious fruit, fine minerality, and crisp acidity” of the estate-grown Fort Ross Pinot Noir. As a result, curious about the vineyard from which the wine was drawn, Jeff put in a call to Lester Schwartz. Hence It wouldn’t be long before Lester lured Jeff to Fort Ross.
Jeff spent his childhood immersed in his family, the farm and the vineyards. These influences, providing the foundation for Jeff to pursue a life of making wine. Then, earning a degree in Enology from the California State University at Fresno. And after working at other wineries (Peter Michael and Bernardus), started making wine full-time with his family. Jeff loves the interwoven art, science and craft aspects of winemaking. And the never-ending learning and appreciation of nature found while working with the vineyards and wine.