2006 Priscilla Vineyard Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir • Priscilla Vineyard
California: Russian River Valley (Sonoma)
What we say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT
Today’s wine is a stellar Pinot Noir that we give huge marks to! If you love elegant, food friendly Pinot, this is a great selection
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Mission Codename: History is written by the victors
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Substantiate the claim that Churchill Cellars makes the Perfect Pinot
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Churchill Cellars
Wine Subject: 2006 Priscilla Vineyard Pinot Noir
Winemaker: Anthony Austin
We first featured Churchill Cellars last year. We were head over heels for Ken Churchill’s 2005 Pinot Noir, and we have been eagerly anticipating his 2006 follow-up. For today’s wine Agent Red returned to Churchill Cellars to evaluate Ken’s 2006 Priscilla Vineyards Pinot Noir. He loved it and he was able to retreive a small number of cases for our Operatives. Read Red’s mission report and tasting notes, below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark ruby red, with sparkling edges and a perfect clarity through its darkening heart. When swirled, the wine shows a bouncy surface that continues to spin, ultimately leaving behind skinny legs that move slowly down the sides of the glass
Smell – Lush and warm with bright red fruits of cherry, raspberry and subtle cranberry. These are followed by darker mixed berries, soft leather and soft spice
Feel – Round and silky up front, then wet and tender on the mid-palate where soft tannins add personality
Taste – Bright and finely delicious, with cherry and raspberry leading off. These flavors are retained as sweet oak, softest spice, tender leather and softest caraway make subtle appearances
Finish – A long and voluptuous finish that starts off sweet and then tails off to slightly tart, with flavors that go on and on
Conclusion – Another great Pinot Noir from one of our favorite Pinot producers. This time around, Ken Churchill’s Priscilla Pinot Noir shows as a more serious wine and more elegant wine. Through minimal handling and unrushed fermentation, winemaker Anthony Austin has crafted another flexible stunner that is a perfect solo-sipper that is also extremely food friendly. If you are a lover of fine Pinot Noir, this wine gets a very enthusiastic Wine Spies recommendation!
Sir Winston Churchill once said, “I am easily satisfied with the very best.” Were he living today, I am certain that he would be very proud to experience the Pinot Noir that bares his likeness and name.
Ken Churchill, proprietor of Churchill Cellars makes some of our very favorite California Pinot Noir.
I have the great good fortune to enjoy lunch with Ken recently at his home, which looks out over his own Bella Luna Pinot Noir vineyard. After a very educational tour of the vineyard and surrounding land, we headed inside for a few hours of food, spirited conversation and his gorgeous Priscilla Vineyard Pinot Noir.
Lunch was a delicious Beef a la Bourguignon (or Beef Burgundy), a pairing which I recommend with Ken’s beautiful wine, and the conversation ranged from wine to politics to business, the environment and more. Ken is a keen observer of the world around him and the hours whizzed by.
The Churchill Cellars Priscilla Pinot we were enjoying with lunch, was also enjoyed long after the meal was eaten. Throughout, the wine was the perfect compliment. With its bright acidity and fine flavors, the wine was in perfect balance with the meal. Afterward, sipping it on its own, the wine exhibited the right amount of backbone and richness that makes is a perfect solo-sipper as well.
A hearty Wine Spies Thank you to Ken for the great lunch and the great wine!
And to you, dear Operative, I hope that you give yourself a lovely gift today, by picking up a bottle or two of Ken’s excellent Pinot Noir.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Churchill-Cellars winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
Awards & Accolades:
92 Points – “Medium ruby color; bright, spicy aromas of clove and cinnamon with some berry notes; complex, big and rich red cherry and raspberry fruit flavor with lots of spice and sweet oak; silky texture; good structure and balance; long finish. Bright and spicy Pinot with flavors that just go on and on.” – Pinot Report 12/30/08
91 Points – “Very much cut from the same cloth as its finesseful partner from the Bella Luna Vineyard, this sleek, well-ripened Pinot starts out on the slightly delicate side and builds as its crosses the palate. Highlighted with hints of sweet cream and fresh toast and tenaciously fruity in character, it finishes on a bright, mildly acidy, tart-cherry note that bids one to wait for a couple of years.” – Connoisseur’s Guide to Wine 10/08
About This Wine:
Spicy aromas of predominately clove and sweet oak. Deep bold big fruit flavors of raspberries, red cherries, and strawberries. Incredible structure and layer upon layer of flavors. A long finish with notes of vanilla and sweet oak. Now through 2013.
About The Vineyard:
This 2 acre vineyard is located on Vine Hill Road in Sebastopol near the world-class vineyards of Dellinger, Paul Hobbs and Kistler.
About The Winery:
In 1996, we traveled to the beautiful medieval hill-top Tuscan town of San Gimignano. As we toured the vineyards, we fell in love with their beauty and peacefulness and dreamed that someday we would move to the wine country, live among our own vines and produce our own world class wines. Three years later, we followed our dream and moved to Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley. In 2000 we put in our vineyard and in 2003 produced our first 46 case vintage.
We chose the Russian River Valley because it has the rare balance of sunshine, cool nights and morning fog that creates the ideal terroir for Pinot Noir.
To plant and farm our vineyard, we selected Paul Sloan of Small Vines Viticulture. Paul studied fine grape growing in the Grand Cru vineyards of Burgundy and then adopted the close spacing (meter x meter) concept to fit the Russian River soil and climate, which is slightly warmer and drier than Burgundy. Paul’s theory is simple “the smaller the vines, the better the wine”
Then we set out to find our winemaker. After researching his background and tasting his wines, it was an easy decision to have Anthony Austin make our wines. Anthony’s mentor was Andre Tchelistcheff, considered by many experts to be the most influential California winemaker of the past century. Anthony’s wines have won numerous prestigious awards, including Best in the World from the London Business Times for one of his Pinot Noirs and a Chardonnay.
We hope you will enjoy our wines as much as we love growing, producing, and sharing them with you.
Ken & Susan Churchill
Harvest: October 13, 2006
Clones: 114, 115, 667, 777
Cold Soak: 10 days
Aged: 18 months
Released: September 1, 2008