Schug Carneros Estate
2009 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
California: Sonoma Coast
The Pinot King
- Final Assessment (formerly our Conclusion)
- With all of the excellence that we have come to expect from Schug, today’s 2009 Schug Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir today’s delicious wine was no surprise. We were very pleased, however, to discover that this vintage was even better than the 2008 vintage that we featured nearly two years ago. This 2009 has bolder, more delicious fruit, making it even more of a tasty delight. The characteristic Sonoma Coast earthiness is more pronounced, as well. This gives the wine richness and a complexity, without sacrificing any of its elegance. Delicious and full-bodied, this wine has an easy drinking elegance. That is to say that this is an approachable wine with a serious side - without taking itself too seriously. Enjoy this food-friendly wine with a grilled chicken dish, a grilled pork loin or a lovely pepper crusted Ahi steak.
When viewed from the side, the wine show off a deep ruby red. Viewed from the top, it shows a tad lighter, with a lovely band of pink at the edge of the glass. After you swirl the wine, tall, thin legs move swiftly down the glass to the wine below.
Lush and very aromatic, with layers of red fruit, spice and earthy goodness. Out in front, spiced cherry, wild strawberry and raspberry lead the way. These are followed by young blackberry, dried cranberry, flinty gunpowder, subtle cedar, soft oak and a hint of subtle dried brown tobacco leaf.
Balanced and delicious, with red fruit, earth and spice all working together in perfect harmony. This wine leads with spiced cherry, young strawberry, tart dried cranberry and red plum skin. The delicious fruit is balanced against earthy dried violets, flint, subtle dried herbs and cigar box. At the tail end, soft white pepper appears, driving red fruit and earthy flavors to the corners of the palate.
Very long, juicy and lingering red fruit. This tasty fruit gives way to earthy flavors. As these begin to tail off, white pepper and cigar box remain behind for a long time.
What the Winery Says
The microclimates of the Sonoma Coast AVA include the western portion of Carneros and the Petaluma Gap. The cool climate and low yield of these vineyards allow Pinot Noir grapes to mature slowly while retaining their natural acidity, resulting in a balanced wine with ripe flavors, silky texture and crisp acidity. Bright ruby color with aromas of cherry skin, dried cranberries smoky undertones. The palate shows more cherry and dried fruit flavors with earthy notes. Clean with a nice solid backbone completed by a racy acidity. Balanced and tight, an ideal accompaniment to grilled fish and fowl or barbecued meats.
- Sonoma Coast
- Sonoma Coast
- Pinot Noir
About the Winery
Founded in 1980, Schug Carneros Estate Winery is the showcase and life-long dream of one of California’s most celebrated winemakers. Walter Schug’s reputation blossomed during his tenure as Founding Winemaker for Joseph Phelps Vineyards in the 1970s, where he made California’s first proprietary Bordeaux-Style blend (Insignia) and legendary vineyard designated Cabernets (Bacchus and Eisele Vineyards).
Drawing on his long experience in the production of fine wines in both Europe and California, Walter set up his own winery with his wife Gertrud in the cool, marine climate of the Carneros Appellation. Here he could focus on the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay varietals that had always been close to his heart.
In 1995 Sonoma-born winemaker Michael Cox came on board at Schug. Trained in Enology at UC Davis, Mike worked in several Californian wineries before he was lured from Napa Valley to Carneros - Sonoma, to work with Walter Schug as his assistant winemaker. One year later he was promoted to Winemaker and placed in charge of the day-to-day winemaking duties, where he remains today.
Schug Carneros Estate Winery combines old world understanding and tradition with modern winemaking techniques. By using only the finest grapes available, and maintaining the best winemaking values, these wines have gained acceptance worldwide as true contemporary classics.
About The Winemakers
Walter Schug, Winemaker - A native of Germany’s Rhein River valley, Walter Schug was raised in Assmannshausen, on the region’s only Pinot Noir estate. He marked his first harvest in 1953, apprenticing at all nine of the famed wine estates of Hessen, in the Rheingau region of Germany.
In 1959, after finishing his studies with a diploma in Viticulture and Enology at the prestigious German wine institute of Geisenheim, Walter left for California. He spent a year expanding his knowledge while working at a winery and taking extension courses at UC Davis. Two years later, he returned to California for good, with his wife Gertrud, to work as the Assistant Superintendent at California Grape Products Corporation. In 1966 Julio Gallo asked him to be the family’s Head of Grower Relations and Quality Control for Northern California. Gallo’s involvement on the North Coast led Walter to become acquainted with over 600 independent growers and several thousand acres of prime vineyards in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino County.
By 1973, Walter’s experience was sought out by Joseph Phelps to establish Joseph Phelps Vineyards in Napa Valley, and that year began his 10 vintages as Vice President and Winemaker for the new enterprise. Among Walter’s many contributions to the Napa Valley’s newly emerging fame were:
- California’s first proprietary Bordeaux-Style blend (Insignia)
- Legendary vineyard designated wines (Bacchus and Eisele Vineyards)
- The first varietal Syrah in the US.
- Pioneering late harvest dessert wines (Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Scheurebe)
By 1980, however, there was little market in California for Pinot Noir, and Phelps ceased production of the varietal. Reluctant to stop working with the grape of his childhood home and firmly believing in its future, Walter came to an arrangement with Joseph Phelps that he would continue his regular work at the winery, yet produce Pinot Noir under his own private label.
Three years later, Walter’s private project had grown to such an extent that he made the decision to leave Phelps and concentrate on the Schug brand. Since then the winery has grown from a 2,000 case production to 30,000 cases a year. In June 2003 Walter celebrated his 50th harvest, an achievement which very few in California can claim.
Today as Winemaster, Walter continues to oversee the production of consistently great wines, along with winemaker Michael Cox.
Michael Cox, Winemaker - A Northern California native, Winemaker Michael Cox grew up in Sonoma and spent time in both the Sonoma and Napa wine producing regions as a student. His local head start gave him an enviable background that most young winemakers find very difficult to achieve.
Mike first attended the University of California at Los Angeles, studying chemical engineering and working in a wine cellar during the summer. It was then that his love for wine surfaced and took him down another road. In order to become a member of the wine industry, he transferred to the U.C. Davis campus and graduated with a degree in Enology in 1991. Mike also took advantage of coming home from school each summer to work at Sonoma area wineries, gaining good solid experience every step of the way. He worked his way up through the cellars of two prestigious wineries, Hacienda and Dry Creek Vineyards, during and after he finished school. His first full Winemaker position was at DeMoor Winery in 1992. Mike likes to work closely with growers and prefers small production vineyards that contribute unique qualities to his blends. The Carneros grapes Mike works with at Schug offer unrivaled wine-making opportunities due to their unique diversity and complex, well-developed flavor characteristics.
In the cellar, his focus is on staying abreast of current winemaking developments. He favors progressive use of the newer technologies available to winemakers today, such as the Voll Tauchers, hydraulic punch-down fermenters that automate the process of gently punching down the cap during fermentation. Mike also has the impressive ability to manage the hundreds of separate lots stored in the cellars before blending, including the judicious adaptation of specific barrel coopers to specific vineyard lots, in order to emphasize the terroir.
As Winemaker, an important member of the Schug family team, Mike works closely with Winemaster Walter Schug and Sales & Marketing Director Axel Schug. Together their winemaking talents create the premium Carneros and Sonoma wines with the European flair that Schug is famous for.