Parker: Impressive Burgundian-Style Pinot Noir
Before Wine Enthusiast’s 94-point review had even been published, gushing over this riveting 2012 Fort Ross Pinot Noir’s “velvety lushness that's fully balanced and considerate,” we had the lead. The day before we hit “Send,” word came of the review, which we teased. The result? Our clients depleted our initial allocation in mere hours. Perhaps, that was no surprise however, given Robert Parker had tipped most enthusiasts off in his own rave of winemaker Jeff Pisoni’s “Impressive Burgundian-style Pinot Noirs that merit serious attention,” and comment that “these are all impressive wines sold at extremely fair prices.” (Thanks, Bob). Add to that the venerable critic’s 93-point score for its “medium to full body, and a long finish,” suggesting “this is a beauty to drink over the next decade.” In the Sonoma Coast’s prized Fort Ross-Seaview AVA — crowded with heavyweights like Peter Michael, Martinelli, Pahlmeyer, Hirsch, and Nobles — Fort Ross Vineyard and Winery is a standout sensation. $52 from the winery, just $37.99 per bottle on Wine Access.
What lured Jeff Pisoni to Fort Ross is the same thing that continues to beguile everyone from Robert Parker to the San Francisco Chronicle, which has hailed Fort Ross wines as “showstopper” Pinots. Location, location, location.
Perched on steep mountain ridges — up to 1,800 feet in elevation, and less than a mile inland from the Sonoma Coast’s roaring cerulean waves — as close as a California vineyard comes to the pounding Pacific. Coastal fog shrouds vines in the morning, and brisk marine winds cool and cleanse them in the afternoon as bright sunshine helps coax the Pinot Noir grapes into ripening to perfection.
It’s conditions like this that have helped shape the 100-pointers from Peter Michael and stunners from other Fort Ross-Seaview heavyweights such as Pahlmeyer, Martinelli, Hirsch, and Nobles Vineyard. And 2012 gave birth to perhaps the finest wines to date in the cool, extreme coastal region.