2012 Masút Pinot Noir Estate Vineyard Mendocino County
Expert Rating
PR 95 points
(Read the full review below)
 
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Ben and Jake Fetzer 95pt Pinot Noir Splurge on East 65th Street

If you've never been to Daniel Boulud's flagship restaurant on East 65th Street, it's time to splurge. Boulud runs a tight ship. From the amuse-gueule to the petits fours et chocolats, nothing is left to chance. As to the Daniel wine list, it's New York's finest.

The sommelier at Daniel, Raj Vaidya, has a finely honed, decidedly mineral palate, something that wouldn't be lost on us when we dined there in the late spring of 2011. The first wine to be poured was a chiseled Alsatian Riesling. Then Vaidya took one of his favorite turns in the form of richly textured, tightly wound Austrian Grüner Veltliner. But, when the canard rôti touched down, Raj threw us an unexpected curveball. In lieu of an elegant red from the Côte de Beaune, the sommelier's choice was an estate-grown, single-vineyard 2009 Masút Pinot Noir drawn from chilly soils just off the northern edge of the Sonoma coastline. Vaidya made no mistake. Brilliant ruby in color, berried up and juicy on the attack, the Masút Pinot Noir's finish was bracing, bringing out the savory saltiness of Daniel's canard rôti.

The following morning, we put a call in to Jake and Ben Fetzer at Masút. That call set in motion one of the longest courtships of our WineAccess careers.

In 1996, Bobby Fetzer purchased the Masút Ranch. A year later, after extensive soil studies, a vineyard blueprint was designed, dividing the property into 13 distinct blocks. Fetzer and his two sons, Ben and Jake, planted a 23-acre parcel entirely to Burgundy clones 113, 115, and 777.

Two months after that dinner chez Boulud, in July 2011, we drove north out of Sonoma. An hour later, we pulled into Masút Ranch. Set on a series of undulating hillsides perched along a gap in the coastal mountains, the vineyard enjoys an unusual microclimate that much explained the unique character of the sommelier's Pinot Noir pairing. While the summer sun is hot, the nights are refreshing. The combination of rigorous small-block farming protocol, warm days, and chilly nights allows small-berry clusters to reach optimal maturity without sacrificing a gram of natural acidity.

We pushed the Fetzers for a small allocation of their Masút Ranch Pinot Noir on that summer afternoon, but the brothers wouldn't budge. In each of the following two years, we returned, both times holding a stacked deck of Daniel calling cards. Still the Fetzer brothers played their hand close to the vest. Yields were tiny in both 2010 and 2011, and every drop was allocated well before bottling.

Four months ago, in May, we finally hit pay dirt. The watershed 2012 vintage on the coast was extraordinary for both quantity and quality on the Mendocino coast. Nearly three years after we were first introduced to Masút Vineyard Pinot Noir at Daniel on East 65th, Jake Fetzer set aside an allocation for WineAccess.

Greg Walter's PinotReport, along with Allen Meadows' Burghound and Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, is a must-read for California Pinot Noir collectors. On page 2 of Issue No. 95 that hit the web on June 15th, Walter gushed all over the 2012 Masút Vineyard Pinot Noir, describing "silky texture; good structure and balance; long finish. Deep and many layered Pinot with great structure and length." Then one of the most respected Pinot Noir critics on the coast lobbed on the 95-point addendum, one of the highest scores attributed to any American Pinot Noir in the sensational 2012 vintage.

The 2012 Masút Vineyard Pinot Noir is brilliant ruby to the rim, infused with high-toned aromas of black cherry, raspberry, and sweet herbs, lightly framed by new-wood cedar. Rich and juicy on the attack, filled with wild-berry preserves, still finishing with the textbook vibrancy that speaks so eloquently of those moist, chilly nights in the Mendocino hills. Drink now for its primary-fruit opulence or lay down for 5-7 years in a cool cellar.



Tasting Notes

2012 Masút Pinot Noir Estate Vineyard Mendocino County
"Medium-deep ruby color; complex, dark, earthy cherry aromas; deep, complex dark cherry and plum flavors with earthy, savory spice notes; some tannin and oak; silky texture; good structure and balance; long finish. Deep and many layered Pinot with great structure and length."
95 points — Greg Walter, PinotReport

"The 2012 Masút Vineyard Pinot Noir Mendocino County Estate brings back sweet memories of that June evening at Daniel. Brilliant ruby to the rim, infused with high-toned aromas of black cherry, raspberry, and sweet herbs, lightly framed by new-wood cedar. Rich and juicy on the attack, filled with wild-berry preserves, still finishing with the textbook vibrancy that speaks so eloquently of those moist, chilly nights in the Mendocino hills. Drink now for its primary-fruit opulence or lay down for 5-7 years in a cool cellar."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

 

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