2006 Porter Creek Vineyards Pinot Noir Fiona Hill Russian River Valley
With memories like this, we admit to being unusually tough Pinot Noir critics. But to our taste, there's way too much American Pinot masquerading as $40 wine. Only two wines have cut the mustard so far. The first was Dan Goldfield's sumptuous 2007 Dutton bottling. And now this, the 2006 Porter Creek "Fiona Hill Vineyard" Pinot Noir, made from just a few acres of steep hillside vines planted to full southern exposure. "Fiona Hill" has beautiful ripe, red fruit aromatics, excellent depth and a long, precise finish. When we finally hooked up with Alex Davis a week later, and talked about what he'd done before returning to his family's estate, we realized that we'd already met. It was in 1994, in a cellar in Chambolle-Musigny over a bottle of 1976 Bonnes Mares!
Alex worked a summer harvest with Roumier and then had a stint in the cellar of Maison Camille Giroud before returning to his family's small estate in Russian River. When he came home, he and his father applied what Alex had learned, quietly making Porter Creek into one of the very top Pinot Noir and Chardonnay estates in the appellation. Why is this 2006 Porter Creek Pinot unlike almost any 2006 Russian River Pinot we've tasted? The answer is much the same as as it was with the '76 Bonnes Mares. It's in the vines and on the winegrower's hands.
Porter Creek is a truly Burgundian estate in Russian River. There are just 20 acres, a tad less than chez Roumier. All the vines are set on hillsides. The Davis's farm organically, closely monitoring the mineral flux in the soil, nourishing the land with compost. Yields are strictly limited so as to enhance concentration. But most importantly, like Roumier in Chambolle, Alex spends his days on a tractor and in the vines. His hands are as Burgundian as his Pinots.
George, Rusty and Alex Davis
Tasting Notes from the WineAccess Travel Log
"Deep ruby color to the edge. Vibrant aromas of wild berries and red fruit. Rich and warm on the palate, with deep red fruit flavors, spice and hints of forest floor. Long, excellent persistent finish. Beautifully balanced, combining New World richness with the structure of the Old. Drink now-2013."