Littorai. Hirsch. Peay. Williams-Selyem. These are legendary pioneers of the deep Sonoma Coast. Over the last three decades, these producers have defined one of the most singular styles of American Pinot Noir. Add to that list the Red Car Wine Company — named to this year’s list of Wine & Spirits “Top 100 Wineries.” A darling of New York Time’s critic Eric Asimov, who regularly features Red Car wines and listed it among his top three Sonoma Coast Pinots last year, it also speaks volumes that The French Laundry and Spago were the first two restaurants in the nation to list Red Car. Working with many of the same vineyards as the aforementioned legendary producers — like Platt, Ritchie and Hagan — in 2014, Red Car crafted a 93-point mineral-driven Sonoma Coast Pinot that had even Antonio Galloni singling it out as “terrific.”
A mere three miles inland from the roaring cold Pacific Ocean, in the unofficial deep Sonoma coast is one of the most challenging terroirs to farm in California — located in the enclave of Fort Ross-Seaview. To put this in even greater context, standing in Red Car’s vineyards in this area, you’d be quite west of the Russian River where balmy temperatures give way to constant fog and a chilly marine climatic influence unmatched anywhere else in California, except for perhaps the deep western end of Santa Barbara — and Fort Ross-Seaview. As a winegrower, your farming must be meticulous to get the finicky Pinot Noir grape to ripen and rot is a constant threat while sloping vineyards require lots of hard manual labor.
Red Car understands that great wine does not come easy, and has done everything the hard way (or — the right way). The vineyards are farmed organically, and in some cases biodynamically. The wines are all natural yeast fermented and gently moved about the winery solely by gravity. They work exclusively with vineyards on the deep Sonoma coast to form their calling card Pinot Noir. The rewards are clear. In the glass, the style here is more akin to great generous vintage Burgundy, but at a fraction of the price. We can only look forward to what Red Car will produce in the future, but for now, we’re pleased to offer the 2014 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir for drinking today.