2009 Floodgate Vineyard Origins Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir • Floodgate Origins
California: Russian River Valley (Sonoma)
We are wild about today’s Alysian Wines Pinot Noir from the fabled prince of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, winemaster Gary Farrell.
For the last 30 years, Gary Farrell has been crafting Pinot Noir from the finest blocks of the Russian River Valley’s most important vineyard sites. Today’s spectacular Alysian Wines 2009 Floodgate Vineyard Origins Pinot Noir is one of the finest Russian River Pinots we have ever tasted. This wine came from blocks 3 and 4 of the Floodgate vineyard; these vines were planted in 1971 (some of the oldest pinot on the continent).
This wine is elegant, delicious, and as you swirl the wine in your glass it evolves and unfolds in ways that surprise and delight the senses; the more time you spend with the wine, the more the aromas wash over you and flavors dance on the palate. The effect is like smooth jazz, or bottled poetry. No wonder this wine has received more 90+ point scores than we can even count! See below for a partial list of the awards that this wine has garnered.
Can you tell that we are practically mezmerized by this wonderful wine? Fall under its spell - before our other Operatives buy it all up. Quantities are limited.
Rich translucent crimson, with the light viscosity characteristic of a Russian River Pinot Noir.
Fruity aromas of slightly under-ripe cherry and plum meld with black pine, mushroom, and subtle eucalyptus.
Very complex, layered and bursting with flavor. Mouthwatering black cherry, blackberry, black plum and dried dark red rose petals take the lead. These sit easily atop springtime forest floor, sweet tobacco leaf, slate mineral and a hint of black pepper.
Ultra-long with well-integrated tannins that seem to lock flavors onto the palate, especially at the far corners.
We enjoyed this incredible Pinot with an equally incredible three-course meal: a Morel Mushroom Bisque followed by duck breast with rhubarb-cherry chutney and, finally, a simple cheese plate.
What the Winery Says
Floodgate Vineyard is located in the heart of Russian River Valley’s most coveted Pinot Noir sub-appellation known as the Middle Reach. It is here where the region’s most prestigious vineyards reside. This is one of our estate properties, and the future home of our new production facility. Block 4 (planted in 1971) is one of the oldest known plantings of Pinot Noir in the Russian River Valley. Though producing less than one ton per acre, winemaker Gary Farrell insists the vineyard be preserved; not only for its historical signiﬁcance, but the astounding wine quality produced from these old vines.
VINTAGE SUMMARY :Gary considers 2009 “the most enjoyable grape harvest” of his career. Though late-ripening varietals (Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, etc.) sustained signiﬁcant damage from October rains, cool dry conditions prevailed throughout our entire harvest of Russian River Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Yields were modest but quality was universally high; with exceptionally clean fruit exhibiting optimum structure and ﬂavor proﬁles. It’s truly an exciting opportunity to have such incredible raw materials from which to craft our wines.
- WINEMAKER NOTES
- This youthful wine proves that abundance and concentration is achievable, without the excessive weight, ripeness and alcohol. Alluring aromas of violet, fresh blackberry and stone fruits lead to an array of wild berries, fresh plum and black-pepper spice on the palate. Those ﬂavors expand and become exotic, as hints of enriching oak and minerality emerge in the many waves of complexity. Refreshing vibrancy and supportive ﬁne-grain tannins add further credibility and appeal to this ﬁrmly structured and wildly appealing wine. Though enjoyable now for its adolescent charms, a few years of carefully cellaring would pay great dividends.
Gary Farrell, winemaker
2009 PINOT NOIR, FLOODGATE VINEYARD, ORIGINS
- VINEYARDS AND CLONES
- Floodgate Vineyard – Block 4, Martini Clone
- Harvest date
- September 13. Hand harvested at night under lights. Hand sorted in vineyard
- Average brix
- 24.1 degrees
- Grape Processing
- Cold fruit processed early AM. Hand sorted prior to stem removal. Hard sorted after stem removal
- Small open tops
- Cold soak
- 4 days
- Combination wild and cultured
- 3 manual punch down daily
- 11 days
- BARREL PROGRAM
- ML fermentation in barrel. 100% French oak, Francois Freres, Rousseau. 40% new. 13 months in barrel
- 14.1% by volume
- Titratable acidity
- 7.3 gm/L
- Bottling date
- November 30, 2010
- 240 cases (9 liter equivalent)
93 Points – “This refined and very good wine opens up with a mild boysenberry bouquet with a hint of RC Cola. On the palate, it is medium bodied, super balanced, very smooth and suave. The flavor profile is a very tasty mild plum with notes of gentle strawberry and a hint of oak and faint sarsaparilla. The finish is dry and its fine tannins are a tough dusty and sail along nicely. This Pinot Noir is very refined and extremely food friendly.” ~ Ken Hoggins, Ken’s Wine Guide, June 2012
92+ Points – “Medium ruby color and aromas of red berry fruit with mineral notes. It is elegant on the palate with ripe cherry fruit flavors, excellent acidity and firm round tannins on the finish.” ~ International Wine Review, June 2012
92 Points – “Rich, complex aromas of strawberry and cherry with spicy notes; deep, rich red cherry and strawberry flavors with cinnamon and spice notes; silky texture; good structure and balance; long finish. Bright, silky Pinot that’s drinking well now and will reward some cellar patience.” ~ Greg Walters, Pinot Report, September 2012
92 Points – “Packed with tangy ripe blackberry, strawberry and plum flavors. Tannins are extremely fine and mild in overall intensity. The finish is dry and leaves a lingering raspberry chocolate flavor. Vibrant and very delicious Pinot Noir.” ~ _Tom Herman, Winecheer.com, August 2012
90+ Points – “Solid, rich aromatics of dark berry and plum with crumbled herbs. In the mouth, it shows bright, pliable cherry and violet on the mid palate with supple texture.” ~ Doug Wilder, Purely Domestic Wine Report, July 2012
90 Points – “The nose blends both upper and medium register red and dark berry fruit aromas along with hints of clove and anise. There is a sophistication mouth feel to the vibrant medium weight flavors as the supporting tannins are quite fine, indeed almost delicate. This is well-balanced, agreeably dry and offers solid persistence.” ~ Allen Meadows, Berghound, October 2012
90 Points – “Attractive, spicy, red berry fruit aroma with mineral notes and hints of clove and forest floor; medium-bull body; herbal, slightly tart, spicy, red fruit flavors with brisk acidity; medium-full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Nicely balanced and structured.” ~ Nick Ponomareff, California Grapevine, August 2012
Exceptional – “Dreamy aromatics with intense and vivid aromas of fresh Bing cherries, raspberries, spice and vanilla. Flavorful, but juicy and easy to drink, offering tastes of red cherries, herbs, sandalwood and graham, picking up intensity over time in the glass. Very elegantly crafted with soft, dry tannins, lively acidity and generous length.” ~ Rusty Gaffney, PinotFile, June 2012
About the Winery
- Brand Overview
- Gary Farrell sold his very successful “namesake” brand in 2004 with ambitions of “returning to his roots” as a true artisan producer of extremely limited production Pinot Noir wines. In 2007, he partnered with longtime colleague, Bill Hambrecht, to create the ideal winemaking environment for the production of small lot, ultra-premium wines from the cooler reaches of the Russian River Valley. Consistent with Gary’s “no compromise” approach, he equipped his new Westside Road (Healdsburg) facility with the finest tools obtainable; precisely what we would expect from the winemaker who promises to “eclipse” anything he has previously produced during his three decades of winemaking.
- The Wines
- Pinot Noir is the clear focus of this brand, but tiny lots of Chardonnay will also be released under the Alysian label. Gary will remain true to his “signature style” of winemaking by producing fully flavored, acutely balanced wines with a keen focus on elegance and structural integrity. Though critics often reward wines expressing excessive density, extract and alcohol, Gary continues to refute this style, favoring a more sophisticated, structurally correct and age-worthy approach to winemaking. By sourcing grapes that ripen (and reach flavor maturity) at lower sugar levels, Gary is able to produce fully flavored wines possessing lower alcohols and higher natural acidity; resulting in vibrant wines that cellar well and are great companions with food.
- The Name
- “Alysian” (of Greek origin) refers to an endeavor arising from intuitive creativity and artistic resolution. Our logo is an ancient mark, commonly referencing a return to one’s center or beginning. Others suggest a far simpler translation; “the journey.”
- The Vineyards
- In addition to the obvious contributions of veteran winemaker Gary Farrell, the Alysian wines will have another clear and distinct advantage over most other brands… access to the finest, most reputable vineyards in the Russian River Valley. Gary was one of the very first winemakers to specialize in Russian River Valley Pinot Noir during the mid-1980′s, and his long standing relationships with the region’s most elite growers will result in designated wines from Rochioli, Allen, Floodgate, Hallberg and Singler vineyards.