2006 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir • Sangiacomo Vineyard
California: Sonoma Coast
What we say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s single vineyard Sangiacomo Vineyard Pinot Noir is a fantastic wine made by a David Vergari, former Winemaker for Phelps. With just 165 cases cases produced be sure to pick up an allocation of this delicious wine before it is gone forever.
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Mission Codename: Old Sangiacomo
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Secure a delicious single vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Vergari Wines
Wine Subject: 2006 Vergari Sangiacomo Vineyard Pinot Noir
Winemaker: David Vergari
The Sonoma Coast AVA is the 750 square mile area with the Pacific ocean on its western boundary, the San Pablo Bay to the south and Mendocino County to the north, headed inland to the other designated AVAs in Sonoma County. The region is heavily influenced by the cooler ocean climate, increased rainfall and fog that lingers long on the coastal mountains. The specific climate suits the demanding Burgundian varietals of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir very well.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Vibrant crystal clear ruby red that beautifully fades from ruby to pink along rim of the glass. A loose and bouncy surface leaves behind slow-moving skinny legs ring the edge of the glass when swirled
Smell – Bold, bright and well integrated, this wine shows real character with aromas of bright cherry, tart and ripe raspberry, hints cedar and and vanilla toast, mulchy earth, herbal and floral notes and a touch of gunpowder
Feel – This medium-bodied wine is ultra smooth across the front palate with fine tannins and a medium acidity that adds a soft hint of tanginess. Soft spice hit the edges and back of the tongue, making the wine intriguing all around the mouth
Taste – Freshly bright fruit of tart red raspberry and cherry are supported by flavors of soft rhubarb, fresh but subtle salad herbs, fresh forest floor, and softest oak, spice and a hint of black cherry at the end
Finish – Long in length, clean and fresh at first, then darker, with hints of earthen dark cherry, spice and soft oak
Conclusion – The 2006 Vergari Sangiacomo Vineyard Pinot Noir is a stellar wine that is delicious and pleasing from first sip, to last drop. With a great deal of character, this wine is beautifully balanced. It is bright and fruity, but also dark and mysterious enough to be intriguing, adding to the wines complexity. Drinking beautifully now, this wine will only improve for the next several years, so please be sure to stock up on this food-friendly beauty!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: David Vergari, owner/winemaker of Vergari Wines
DATE OF BIRTH: Exact date is classified, but I was conceived during Orson Welles’ radio broadcast, “War of the Worlds”. You do the math!
PLACE OF BIRTH: Oak Ridge, TN
WINE EDUCATION: Are you kidding? You mean it’s possible to get a wine education? I have a mail-order degree from UC Davis
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: I wear boxers.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: You can’t make good wine at any price by sitting behind a desk! I probably spend more time in vineyards than the cellar. The lion’s share of the winemaking is accomplished before we pick a single grape.
SIGNATURE VARIETAL: That would be Pinot Noir. However, I am not sure whether Mr. Noir agrees with that assessment. There’s all kinds of cultivars that I’ve shaken hands with along the way.
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Not screwing up (relatively speaking).
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Staying humble lest the wine gods decide to mess with me
WINEMAKER QUOTE: You don’t have to be crazy to make Pinot Noir…but it helps
AGENT RED: Greetings, Elvis. We are thrilled to be showing your 2006 Sangiacomo Pinot Noir today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
DAVID VERGARI: Hey, it’s my privilege.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
DAVID: My family is Italian. I grew up with Dago Red. Need I say more?
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
DAVID: On the practical side: Working with Damian Parker at Joseph Phelps Vineyards. It was cool to integrate the cellar experience with the theory I learned in school.
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
DAVID: I missed that lecture. I’ve been winging it ever since. What seems to work for me is not getting in the way, using oak very judiciously and letting the vineyard express itself
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
DAVID: Whoa! That’s a thought-provoking question. The short answer is practically everyone that I’ve worked with. At some point or another you pick up some worthwhile stuff. Oh, you want me to name names? Here’s the short list: Tom Rinaldi back in the early-80s; Jim Sullivan in the late-80s; Bill Bonetti and Terry Adams at Sonoma-Cutrer; Randle Johnson and Tom Smith at the Hess Collection; James Halliday (Australia); Maria-Jesus Gutierrez (Spain); Greg LaFollette; Scott Rich (Talisman Cellars); Norm Yost (Flying Goat Cellars); Damian at JPV. Wait! There’s lots more…
RED: How long have you been making wine?
DAVID: I started making Zinfandel at home in 1981. Professionally, since the early-90s.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
DAVID: Besides Vergari Wines (very original name, doncha think?), I consult with Mackie Family in Sonoma County, Malibu Sanity owned by Charles Schetter, Richard Moriarty in Newport Beach, plus a couple of vineyard clients. This is the current list. I am available for more in case anyone is interested.
RED: Tell me, what makes Sonoma County so special?
DAVID: I spent a lot of time growing up in the Russian River Valley, across the River from Korbel. There’s always been vineyards and wineries there, but what blows my mind is that the area has become arguably one of the best places in North America to grow Pinot Noir. There are others as well. What makes a place great is a combination of many, many factors that are too numerous to detail here.
…by the way, I’ll be amazed if anyone has continued reading this far!
RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
DAVID: Give me a call. I’ll try to talk you out of it
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
DAVID: I wear all the hats: production, sales, administration, grower relations, spiritual advisor, athletic director, blah, blah, blah. However, at the end of the day I am a wine-seller. Vintners who fail to embrace this axiom are screwed.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
DAVID: The Sangiacomo vineyard bottling comes from the Sonoma Coast AVA. I started working with Mike Sangiacomo several years ago. He comes from a family of decent, honest, hard-working and unpretentious folks. This particular vineyard is located over the hill from most of their plantings in the Sonoma Valley and Carneros. It’s more subject to the wind and fog due to its location near the Petaluma Gap. We usually harvest well into October. It’s a killer site for quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
DAVID: Several come to mind: Salmon, hard cheeses, pork tenderloin, game, pasta dishes.
RED: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know
DAVID: I sing real good.
RED:What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
DAVID: Whatever I am drinking at the time. Really. During the harvest my favorite white is Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or Bear Republic’s Racer 5 IPA.
RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
DAVID: Mine? With extreme caution. Wine in general? Remove the cork or screwcap and just enjoy.
RED: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?
RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?DAVID: Jeepers-creepers, haven’t I bored you enough? Okay, here goes: “When did you feel comfortable inside your own skin as a winemaker?” Answer: Only recently. I make wine with my heart and guts. It’s scary and exhilarating. When something clicks, I am very grateful. And relieved.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and about your wine. Keep making your great wines. We became instant fans, the moment we tasted with you at [REDACTED].
DAVID: You guys are really cool cats. It’s been my pleasure. Thank you for featuring my Pinot Noir.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Sangiacomo Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
Awards & Accolades:
91 Points – Josh Reynolds, Stephen Tanzer’s Wine Cellar – Saturated red. Powerfully scented bouquet of black raspberry, cherry compote, pipe tobacco and rose oil. Deep, round and fleshy, with sweet red and dark berry preserve flavors and good, smoky mineral bite. Rich but energetic, with excellent finishing clarity and spicy persistence. This is exotic and complex enough to drink right now.
About This Wine:
The grapes come from the Roberts Road vineyard located in the ridiculously cool Petaluma Gap, where coastal fog is de rigueur. It pleases me no end to receive Pinot Noir from the Sangiacomo family, longtime farmers in Sonoma County, whose grapes I first worked with at Joseph Phelps Vineyards. The 2006 vintage was one of the most challenging I’ve faced in many years. This wine will entice you with its subtlety. It’s not a flashy “look at me!” Pinot Noir, instead it is one that will reveal itself layer by layer. Be patient and you‘ll be rewarded.
Ruby color; pronounced spice bouquet with sour cherry/earth aromas. Fruit-driven entry that gives way to firm, acidic mid-palate and lengthy, balanced finish. This wine will evolve in your glass. Released after 13+ months of bottle age.
About The Winery:
Founded in 2003 by owner/winemaker David Vergari, Vergari Wines strives to produce Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon from vineyards that are exclusively suited to those varietals. David shepards the wine from vine to bottle, ages them solely in French oak barrels and trusts that if he’s doing his job well, each wine will display its own “voice” – its own distinctive and unique character.
While studying Enology and Viticulture at UC Davis, David interned at Sonoma-Cutrer and The Hess Collection in Napa Valley, and worked abroad at Coldstream Hills in Australia and Covisa in Spain. Landing back in California, David worked his way up to Research Enologist at Joseph Phelps Vineyard before moving to Rutz Cellars in the Russian River Valley, where he not only became the winemaker, but honed his skills and appreciation for Pinot Noir. Then, after four years as Head Winemaker at Maddalena Vineyards, David decided to launch his own label, Vergari Wines. In his spare time, David acts as a consulting winemaker and teaches extension wine courses at UC Irvine.
David ascribes his life-long interest in wine at least in part to his Italian ancestry. His first memory of wine goes back to when he was five years old, in his great-uncle’s cellar in San Francisco tasting “Dago Red” – cut with water, of course! For a while in his twenties he worked as a financial analyst, but winemaking was in his blood, and inevitably he decided to change careers and follow his passion.
David makes his wines at Owl Ridge Wine Services in Sebastopol, California, formerly co-owned by friends and fellow winemakers Greg LaFollette and Greg Bjornstad. David became fast friends with the two Gregs while attending UC Davis and vowed that one day he would make wine at their facility. The third generation of his family from western Sonoma County, David divides his time between the winery and vineyards in Northern California and his home life with wife Katie Orth in Sierra Madre, Southern California.
David’s philosophy; “Give every lot of grapes the attention and careful handling it needs, let the wine find its voice while knowing when to stay out of the way, and always remember that wine is something to be enjoyed – like the company of an old friend.”
CLONES: Dijon 115 and Swan
SOIL: Cobbled alluvial with bench deposits
YIELD: Very low: less than 1.5 tons per acre, cane pruned
CLIMATE: Coastal fog in the morning, burning off to sunny days, then cool nights. 2006 had the greatest variety
of weather I’ve experienced in some time, a very rainy spring, a summer notable for below-average
temperatures with several heat spikes exceeding 100F, and rain during the first week of October!
HARVEST DATE: October 19, 2005
- Grapes were night-picked, hand harvested into ½ -ton macrobins
- Hand-sorted twice at the winery, before and after crushing
- About 20% of the berries were left uncrushed to add complexity and spiciness
- Cold soaked 3-4 days before the onset of fermentation
- Native yeast and native malolactic finishing in barrel 20% new, 30% once-filled and balance neutral French cooperage from Damy, Remond, Sirugue, Francois Freres
- Aged on the fine lees for ten and one-half months
- Bottled unfined and unfiltered on August 19, 2007
WINE PH: 3.61
TA: 6.25 grams/liter
PRODUCTION: 178 cases