2005 Estate Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir • Rhinefarm Estate Vineyard
California: Sonoma Valley
What we say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT!
Today’s wine deserves special recognition, for it is a supreme example of superb, Cali-Burgundian, Pinot Noir. These special alerts are issued when we bring you a really excellent wine.
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Mission Codename: Gun (plus) Lock (plus) Bun (plus) Shoe = Pinot Perfection
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Locate and procure a stunning single vineyard Estate Pinot Noir in Sonoma County
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Gundlach-Bundschu
Wine Subject: 2005 Estate Pinot Noir
Winemaker: Jeff Bundschu
Backgrounder: The Wine Spies have been featuring some incredible Pinot Noir of late, but requests have been pouring in for a single vineyard Pinot Noir – in a more Burgundian style – so we sent Agent Red to Sonoma County to discover the best example he could find. Read his tasting notes and his mission report below to find out how he located today’s incredible Sonoma County Pinot Noir
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Ruby red to garnet with perfect clarity and sparkling edges, with a tight surface and fat, tightly-spaced legs
Smell – Deep and warm aromatics of dusky black cherry and dark mixed fruits, with gunpowder and subtle tones of mocha, spice, earth and the softest hint of dried meats
Feel – Soft and round with an initial wetness that is soon complimented by a slight mouthcoating dryness as the wines medium tannins appear
Taste – Rich and dark, with concentrated flavors of cherry, raspberry, mocha, black fig, complex minerality and soft spice
Finish – Long and lushly with flavors that morph from one to another as they tail off slowly
Conclusion – The Pinot Noir is great! We waited a long time to work with Gundlach-Bundschu. Let me tell you, it was every bit worth the wait! We could not have found a more perfect first wine from Gun-Bun. Classic Burgundy character combines bright California fruit to deliver a lush and deeply delicious wine with rich flavors, deep aromatics and a perfect mouthfeel. I am crazy about this very impressive Pinot Noir.
I don’t receive much postal mail, and when I do, its usually junk mail. Certainly, the letter I received last week stood out; It was in a bright yellow envelope with a double-struck and unreadable postmark.
On opening the envelope, a single sheet fell to the desk. Pasted to the paper were four images: A pistol, a padlock, a cinnamon roll and a men’s dress shoe. All if the images seemed to have been clipped from magazine pages and stuck, from top to bottom, to the sheet. There were no words on the page and no indication on page or envelope where the ‘communication’ had come from.
For the next 48 hours, I obsessed over the page, struggling to decode its hidden meaning. The whiteboard walls in my office were filled with analysis, supposition and even translations of the images into foreign languages. I cross compared and correlated my findings with known wineries, my informants, moles, assets and field operatives. I applied infinite combinations, but could not find a result that made any sense.
With only a few hours of sleep during this arduous period, I was, admittedly, a wreck. Agent Sparkle didn’t know what I was working on, but she decided that I needed to get out of my lab, and out into the world. She coaxed me out to our favorite local cafe. I packed my attache with a note pad and a few items – in case inspiration struck – and headed out.
We got our Breve Lattes and made our way to a corner table. As I was setting my drink down, my attache opened, its contents spilling out onto the floor. Great.
Agent Sparkle bent to pick up some of the papers that had fallen – and she came up with the mystery sheet.
“Hey, that’s clever – and sort of cute! Gun, lock, bun, shoe… Gundlach-Bundschu,” She said.
I grinned sheepishly and took a sip of my latte. How could I have been so…
Just then, my phone rang. “Agent Red here,” I answered.
“Hey Red, its Jeff Bundschu! I expected you to have called me by now. You got my letter, right?”
I paused. “Oh, hi Jeff. Sorry, I’ve been away, umm, on a covert mission, yeah, that’s why I couldn’t call you.”
“Whatever you say, Red. Anyway, I know that you’ve been trying to get a meeting with me for the past few months. Good things come to those who wait, my friend. I have an awesome Pinot Noir for you and your Operatives. Come on by and see how you like it.”
Did I like the wine? I loved it, and I snagged some for you, dear Operative. I do, after all, still have what it takes!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Gundlach-Bundschu winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
Aromas of black cherry, dried rose petal and black spice lead to broad, juicy dark fruit flavors with complex minerality and classic Burgundian character. A supple mouthfeel with layered flavors, elegant texture and a long, smooth finish.
About This Wine:
This supple, medium-weight Pinot Noir gets its supple mouthfeel from 35-year-old Heritage clone fruit and its concentration and weight from the younger Pommard and Dijon clone blocks, resulting in complexly layered flavors, elegant texture and a long, smooth finish.
The wine aged for 11 months in fine-grain, medium toast French oak barrels (45% new), primarily in Tonnellerie Remond-coopered wood.
About The Vineyard:
The Pinot Noir on Rhinefarm grows in the lower block of the vineyard, a section that sits literally across the street from the Carneros appellation border and shares the cooling benefits of the fog from the San Pablo Bay. 39% of the fruit came from vines planted in 1970 – one of the older Pinot Noir vineyards in California – and consists of Wente and Hanzell clonal selections. The other 61% comes from vines planted within the past decade, consisting of Pommard 5, Dijon 115, 667 and 777 clones.
About The Winery:
For 150 years we Bundschus have hiked, biked, fished, flown, sailed, surfed and otherwise explored the outdoors of Northern California and far beyond.
While we delight in adventure, two important things we’ve learned from our travels are, first, always carry a map, and second, there is nothing better than coming home. Even if you never set foot in Sonoma or get to smell the Watusi up close, we invite you to visit us anytime by simply pulling a cork.
About The Winemaker:
Linda Trotta’s lifelong enchantment with wine grew out of her Italian heritage and evolved into a fascination with the distinct personality of vineyards and an awe of the great socializing powers of the fruit of her labor. The bucolic countryside of Sonoma is a world away from the Burbank neighborhood where, as a young girl, Linda helped her Italian immigrant great-grandfather and grandfather make wine. “I grew up with wine as a staple at family meals,” recalls Linda, “it never occurred to me that people made a living making wine.”
Linda studied at UC Davis and spent a year at the University of Padova, near Venice, studying Italian language and culture and working a harvest at Santa Margherita Winery.
A math major before discovering viticulture and enology, Linda earned a bachelor’s degree in Fermentation Science in 1986. One year after joining Gundlach Bundschu Winery as enologist, Linda became winemaker in 1990. In her first decade on Rhinefarm, Linda grew to understand the vineyard’s unique character, with a climate on the warm side of cool, and diverse soils ranging from the clay and gravel basin of Carneros to the volcanic hillsides of the Mayacamas Mountains.
“Rhinefarm’s climate is warmer than Carneros but cooler than Napa. As a result, the wines have both finesse and power, as well as an elegant structure that allows them to age extremely well.” Literally growing up with many of the blocks that were planted in the early 1990s, Linda became obsessed with the nuances of each corner of the vineyard, always seeking to clearly express their distinctive character in her wines.
Well into her second decade as Gundlach Bundschu’s winemaker, this intimate experience with the vineyard allows Linda to manage the health of each vine during the growing season and craft her wines block by block. She shows no signs of complacency. “With 148 years of history growing grapes on this property, we’re still learning this site. I never feel done; there is always something new to learn, a way to improve, a different situation to consider. Each day— each vintage—there is a different path to the same goal—to produce wines that live up to Rhinefarm’s potential and are worthy of the company in which they are shared. I must say, the only constant over the years has been the good cheer and appreciation of life that the Bundschu family brings to the journey.”
Wine Type: Lighter Red Wine
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Appellation: Sonoma Valley
Harvest Date: September 2005
Aging: 3 to 7 years
Bottling Date: December 2006
Alcohol %: 14.1