2007 Reserve Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir • Pinnacles Ranch Vineyards
California: Monterey County
What we say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s delicious Reserve Pinot Noir wine is a superb, food-friendly wine that is the perfect compliment for your coming holiday meals.
WORLDWIDE EXCLUSIVE ALERT:
Want to purchase today’s wine? Unless you can make it to Estancia – in Monterey County – the only place to purchase it is right here and today only! Don’t miss out.
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Mission Codename: The Winds of Love
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: In time for Holiday delivery, send Agent Red back to Estancia Estates, one of Monterey County’s premier wineries, in order to secure a supply of their superb 2007 Reserve Pinot Noir
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Estancia Estates
Wine Subject: 2007 Reserve Pinot Noir Monterey
Winemaker: Scott Kelley
Backgrounder: Monterey County is emerging as a mecca for Pinot Noir. The Wine Spies have featured several Monterey County Pinots and, every time, our Operatives have scooped them up enthusiastically. Today we mark our return to Estancia – and return, victorious, with their delicious and robust expression of Monterey Pinot Noir. Be sure to read Agent Red’s tasting notes and winemaker interview, below.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark red garnet hues, with a deeper ruby heart. At the edges of the wine, a fine pink ring runs around the rim of the glass. Chubby, branching, wine-stained tears move slowly down the glass when swirled.
Smell – Darkly heady and bold, with smoked dark cherry, bramble, blackberry, and earthen red plum. These overlay aromas of dusty earth, leather, subtle sweetwood and soft mocha.
Feel – Soft and cool on entry and across the mid-palate, where the lush tannins introduce a soft, mineral-rich dryness. A flinty feel with a soft spike of black pepper follow at the end.
Taste – Rich and darkly jammy, with blackberry and dark raspberry leading the way. These are soon followed by black cherry, black plum, red raspberry and minerals with black pepper and a hint of sweetwood at the very end.
Finish – Bold and and filled with red fruit flavors, this wine starts strong and then goes long. Red fruits gradually give way to darker fruits, which eventually yield to earthen flavors of dark mineral and flinty black pepper.
Conclusion – Today’s Pinot Noir, from our friends at Estancia, reminds us that great Pinot Noir doesn’t just come from The Russian River Valley, Carneros or even Oregon. Today’s Reserve Pinot Noir, from the warm-weather Pinnacles Vineyard benefits from the nightly cooling from the windswept fog that comes ripping through the Salinas Valley each evening. This cycle of warming and cooling sets up the Pinot Noir grape for greatness. Today’s wine is a delicious, dynamic example of the excellence of Single Vineyard Monterey County Pinot Noir. With bold, jammy flavors and a deeply rich nose, this delicious wine is a fantastic solo-sipper – that also plays very well with most foods.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Scott Kelley
PLACE OF BIRTH: Salinas, CA
WINE EDUCATION: UC Davis
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: General Manager /Director of Wine Making-Estancia
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Estancia’s winemaking philosophy continues to be firmly rooted in terroir, with the goal of producing wines that reflect the unique vineyards and appellations in which they are cultivated.
SIGNATURE VARIETAL: Pinot Noir
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Assuming the head wine making role at Estancia.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “It begins and ends in the Vineyard.”
AGENT RED: Greetings, Scott. Its good to have you back, today. We are thrilled to be showing your 2007 Monterey County Reserve Pinot Noir *. This wine, from the *Pinnacles Vineyard, is a great wine. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
SCOTT: Thank you very much. Always happy to chat with the Wine Spies!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
SCOTT: I knew I wanted to do this since I was seventeen. I grew up in agriculture family and had an early interest in chemistry while in high school. I really found winemaking to be the perfect blend of agriculture and chemistry. My older brother was into viticulture as well, so that probably influenced my career direction a bit.
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
SCOTT: Growing up I had a lot of varied interests, not just in oenology but also in food science, so I pursued studies in Fermentation Science at the University of California at Davis. In addition to winemaking, I also explored the principles and science behind distillation, food engineering and even a little cheese-making. Since my brother and I were experimenting with home brewing during the summers, I took the opportunity to study at Davis’ Institute of Brewing Studies, eventually earning a Master Brewers Certificate. After Davis, I joined the Carmel Brewing Company, and eventually assembled a brewpub in Monterey from the ground up, formulating the recipes and brewing all the beer that we would serve on tap. I had always enjoyed the engineering side of things such as fluid dynamics and heat transfer, and working in a small brewpub allowed me to be hands-on throughout the brewing process and use some of the mechanical skills I learned growing up.
Ultimately though, I found that brewing didn’t really fulfill my creative side, and I found myself gravitating back toward winemaking. In 2000, I joined the Robert Mondavi family of wines working on a variety of brands that took me from Australia to Italy. These experiences abroad really shaped my philosophy about wine and winemaking, my travels to Italy clarified the synergy between wine and food, while making wine in Australia introduced me to a new approach with a focus on the details and the idea that you only get one chance to make a wine great.
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
SCOTT: Winemaking fulfills my artistic side without giving up the innovative hands-on experience that keeps me in touch with my roots, I absolutely enjoy all of the challenges that each vintage presents in order to shape the style of wines we make at Estancia.. Our winemaking style is one that fully embraces the coastal terroir.
RED: Tell me, what makes the Monterey and the Central Coast region so special?
SCOTT: Being born and raised in Monterey County, I have tremendous respect for the wind and fog and the impact it has on the character of the wines. Whether it is using less oak in the Chardonnay to protect the tropical characters or fermenting Pinot Noir only in open-top fermenters to respect the silky tannins of the Pinnacles Vineyard, I am really passionate about making estate-based wines that have truly have a reason for being.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
SCOTT: We just finished the 2010 harvest, so the work of my winemaking team is about to get started. Also, now that all the grapes are in, we have crews at the winery installing a huge bank of solar panels that is going to really help make Estancia more energy independent and green so we are very excited about that.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
SCOTT: The grapes for our 2007 Monterey County Reserve Pinot Noir were harvested primarily from our Pinnacles Ranches Estate Vineyard which lie along the edge of Monterey County’s Gabilan Mountains. This vineyard is cooled by ocean breezes from Monterey Bay and aided by well-drained sandy soils, Monterey is one of California’s ideal growing regions for Pinot Noir. Viewed from above, our Pinnacles vineyard is quite unique in the checkboard like pattern created by row upon row of tree breaks which soften the impact of the wind and create micro-climates that allow the grapes to fully ripen.
2007 was a superb Pinot Noir vintage. Above average rainfall in both late winter and early spring coupled with an extended harvest allowed the fruit to ripen on the vine at its own pace; the way nature intended. Our vineyards are planted to eleven different Pinot Noir clones; predominately Dijon and Pommard clones.
As for the winemaking, Estancia really likes to practice boutique-style winemaking, including whole-berry fermentation, gentle punch downs and basket pressing for our estate grown Pinot Noir. We use only native yeasts to increase aromatics and gentle gravity flow systems to minimize aggressive tannins and bitterness. It is a truly hand-crafted approach that results in Pinot Noir with soft, luscious aromas and flavor and rich, deep color.
RED: That’s a very detailed answer. Thank you! Tell me, what is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
SCOTT: Pinot Noir is very versatile, but I would say my favorite pairings on this wine would be a nicely grilled piece of wild Salmon, some roast duck, or maybe pork tenderloin.
RED: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know
SCOTT: When I am not making wine, my fiancée Dena and I try to find time to pursue one of our many hobbies. We golf, cook, hunt, scuba diving and we go fly fishing for Steelhead in Oregon.
RED: What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
SCOTT: It’s tough to pick a “favorite” as it really depends on what time of year it is or what we might be enjoying for dinner. Pinot is always a favorite, and I have to say that that the more we play around with the Grenache fruit that we have on some of our Estate properties the more excited I am getting about that varietal.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and about your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
SCOTT: Thanks, this has been a lot of fun. I hope folks enjoy our Reserve Pinot Noir as much as we enjoyed making it.
Wine Spies Winery Check:
The location of the Estancia Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
About This Wine:
Precocious, juicy and jammy, this Reserve Pinot Noir made with fruit selected from two hillside blocks in the Pinnacles Vineyard has red-fruit flavors of cherry, red plum and raspberry and smooth, silky tannins. It’s a delightful charmer — a warmer-weather Pinot Noir that’s friendly and easy drinking. Aged in 100% French oak barrels, 35% new. Only 500 cases made exclusively for the wine club.
Estancia makes two Reserve Pinot Noirs from Monterey that illustrate this time-honored concept of terroir.
Both are made with fruit fromvineyards planted more than ten years ago (1996–1998) to primarily the same Pommard and Dijon clones with high density, narrow spacing between rows and individual vines. The differences can be seen in the elements of terroir: climate, soil and topography (which affects the first two elements). And a fourth element: the human factor—how vineyard managers and winemakers work with each vineyard’s natural conditions.
About The Vineyard: The 1000-acre Pinnacles Vineyard has about 300 acres of Pinot Noir. Grapes from two of the best blocks comprising 60 acres are used to make the club-exclusive Pinnacles Reserve Pinot Noir.
Temperatures at Pinnacles are generally about ten degrees warmer than Stonewall. Not only is it farther from the cool Pacific, Pinnacles’ aspect—at the base of the Gavilan Mountains on the eastern side of Salinas Valley—also keeps it warmer. The two blocks used for the Pinnacles Reserve are on a gently rising slope on the vineyard’s northern edge. These vines are the first to see the sun as the morning fog begins breaking in the hillsides and slowly creeps away to the middle of the valley.
And there’s another important climate factor at Pinnacles: the wind.
Salinas Valley is like a funnel. Every fternoon, the wind comes roaring down from the Bay. So Pinnacles is a patchwork of vineyard blocks separated by rows of tree breaks. Thanks to the trees, Pinnacles stays warmer, and we generally pick two to three weeks earlier than totally exposed neighboring vineyards. One example of how man can affect a vineyard’s terroir.
At Stonewall, the vineyard’s 500-foot elevation and natural contours shelter the vines. The middle of the ranch is its lowest point, where the vines are protected from the wind by higher spots to the north and south.
Even so, ripening at Stonewall lags about a month behind Pinnacles, where picking in the two Reserve blocks usually starts in early September. The Pinnacles Pinot has already completed primary fermentation before the first grapes from Stonewall arrive at the winery.
About The Winery:
Estancia: Capturing the Esssence of “Place”
Roughly translated from the Spanish word for “estate,” Estancia’s name emphasizes our founder, Augustin Huneeus’ conviction that the world’s best wines capture the essence of their place of origin.
Huneeus was Chilean by birth and had been in the international wine business 25 years when he became a partner and acting president of Franciscan Vineyards in 1985. His experiences in South America and Europe gave him special insight on site selection and fueled his belief that good wine should uniquely express the place in which it’s grown.
In 1986, he purchased the former Paul Mason vineyard ranches in the Monterey town of Soledad and established it as the home of Estancia Winery and of cool climate varietals, planting the Pinnacles Vineyards to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
In 1999, almost 700 acres in Paso Robles were purchased as the vineyard base for Estancia Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel and Red Meritage.
Today, our founder’s terroir-based belief continues with controlled farming practices and a company-wide commitment to high quality at an affordable price.
About The Winemaker:
Scott Kelley joined Estancia in the spring of 2007 as Director of Winemaking. In this role at Estancia, Scott is responsible for the day-to-day activities of winemaking. Some of these daily activities will include walking the vineyards, tasting each barrel to determine blending, aging and bottling, and working directly with the cellar to craft each wine with its own distinct flavor profile.
From the time Scott was 17 he knew he wanted to be a winemaker. Born and raised on a small ranch outside Salinas, California, his family has always been connected to agriculture. After one high school summer of working as a sugar sampler and mechanic for a vineyard management company in Soledad, Scott decided to combine his passion for chemistry and agriculture by pursuing a college education in enology.
Directly after graduating college, Scott began a short stint as an assistant brewmaster for Carmel Brewing Co. in Salinas, managing all aspects of brewing from grain to glass. A year later, he joined Golden State Vintners in Napa Valley as a laboratory supervisor then was promoted to cellar master and eventually assistant winemaker. Following Golden State Vintners, Scott then worked as a winemaker for La Famiglia and then Robert Mondavi Private Selection before joining Estancia in 2007.
Scott earned a Bachelor of Science degree in fermentation science from the University of California at Davis and was also awarded a Certification of Master Brewers Program. An avid outdoorsman, Scott enjoys golf, hunting and fly-fishing for Steelhead in Oregon. He currently resides in south Monterey County and is soon to be married to his fiancee, Dena.
Varietals: 100% Pinot Noir
Appellation: Monterey County
Vineyard: Pinnacles Ranch Vineyards