Expanding Roots: The Neighborhoods of the Russian River Valley
Imagine a winemaking region just hours north of San Francisco rich in diversity and distinctive terroir, a well-kept secret tucked amongst the towering redwoods and influenced by the Pacific Ocean. Over half a century ago, pioneering growers recognized the Russian River Valley as a place that just might produce pinot noir that rivaled the villages of Burgundy. After decades of winemaking and selective planting, our valley has become internationally known for producing Pinot that is distinctly American and reflects the natural influences of our terroir.
Gary Farrell Winemaker, Theresa Heredia, grape growers and other winemakers within the Russian River Valley have always recognized that certain regions of the valley produced distinctly different wines. Since the 2014 Vintage, we have been monitoring whether characteristics like aroma, texture and others can be attributed to specific sections of the Valley. This deep dive into Russian River Pinot Noir has become the Neighborhoods Initiative that is also a hallmark of our Single Vineyard winemaking, and our elevated Salon experiences.
The concept of a neighborhood is truly an American idea, and is more concerned with defining the characteristics a specific cluster of vineyards produce than defining the geographical boundaries. It’s both a sense of community and Terroir at the same time.
Pinot Noir Profile: Aromas have an uncommon savory quality; spice and dried fruit are a theme; these wines have a consistently lighter body with fresh acidity; warmer sites to the west, further from the river, show spiced plum, baking spices, dried cherry, black cherry; vineyards in flatter areas closer to the river possess more juicy, lively, sexy red fruit qualities with hints of coriander and red floral aromas.
FEATURED WINE: 2015 Rochioli-Allen Vineyards Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir Profile: Aromas show the savory, purple floral side of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir; flavors are tart and red in style, with baking spices and orange zest, alongside ample acidity, nice texture and structure.
FEATURED WINE: 2015 Toboni Vineyard Pinot Noir
SANTA ROSA PLAIN:
Pinot Noir profile: Lots of very fresh, bright and juicy red raspberry and cherry flavors; the wines are far less earthy than some of the other RRV neighborhood Pinots; the fruit qualities are crisp, zesty and vibrant; acids are abundant, but not as high as Green Valley or Sebastopol Hills wines.
FEATURED WINE: 2015 Martaella Vineyard Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir Profile: Aromas tend toward sour red and black cherry, ripe pomegranate, some blueberry, purple flowers; textures are extremely soft, luscious, and mouth-filling with medium tannins, while still being light and delicate; one of the defining characteristics is a strong acidic core; the similarities in wines here tend to be more textural and acid-driven, rather than flavor-driven.
FEATURED WINE: 2015 McDonald Mountain Vineyard Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir Profile: Very concentrated, fruit-driven aromas with a backdrop of earthiness; bright red and dark fruit flavors; succulent and velvety; black cherry, blueberry and even cranberry, with spices; textures are silky and smooth, though nicely contrasted by noticeable acidity.
FEATURED WINE: 2015 Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir