2009 Fort Ross "Fort Ross Vineyard" Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

SKU #1115372 93 points James Suckling

 Super nose of leather, chili, shiitake mushroom, and berries. Full-bodied, with wonderfully focused tannins and spices. So refined and pretty. Gorgeous.

90 points Connoisseurs Guide

 Despite being located within splashing distance of the Pacific, the vineyards at Fort Ross sit high enough up in the coastal hills that they are able to give off wines that are both ripe and balanced. Here, the black cherry nature of the fruit is filled out by invitingly spicy nuances and hints of dried flowers.

K&L Notes

From Fort Ross' mountaintop winery on the extreme Sonoma Coast, the 2009 was an excellent vintage with intense flavors and excellent structure. From winemaker Jeff Pisoni: "The grapes for this Pinot Noir were handpicked during the cool hours of the night in 5 gallon buckets. After hand sorting, the fruit was cold soaked for several days and fermented in a combination of 5 and 10 ton tanks. The caps were punched down 1 or 2 times per day, depending on the stage of the fermentation. The wines were then barreled in a combination of 30% new and 70% used French oak. Throughout the 10 months of barrel aging, the clones and different vineyard blocks were kept separate to maintain their distinct flavor profiles and structural components as blending elements. The wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered."

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Price: $39.99
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Staff Image By: Gary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/22/2013 | Send Email
This deep colored, powerhouse Pinot Noir is going to be a big hit with K&L's California wine loving customers. It has aromas of bacon and even a bit of catnip like barrel spice backed up by a quite full bodied texture. The Fort Ross Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot leans to the black cherry side of this varietal, but comes together with a savory, long finish.

Staff Image By: John Majeski | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/19/2013 | Send Email
Fortunately. because of its elevation and close proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the ultra-velvety fruit invested in this copious, fleshy wine wasn't adversely affected by the severe, damaging frosts that ran riot over vineyards planted in lower-lying regions. Exuding a confiture-like intensity of bold blackberry pie flavors and deep, savory spice enhanced by nine months in 35% new French oak, this full-bodied, polished Pinot is a superbly satisfying achievement from an excellent estate.

Staff Image By: Mahon McGrath | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/16/2013 | Send Email
This wine leans to the dark side, with bittersweet chocolate, coffee, and dry herbs around a core of black cherry fruit. The palate adds a saline, savory edge that seems to want to veer in an almost meaty direction without ever arriving there. I like the restraint of the finish; this is a nicely balanced, proportionate, nuanced domestic Pinot Noir.

Staff Image By: Patrick Cu | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/11/2013 | Send Email
The 2009 Fort Ross Sonoma Pinot Noir has inviting aromas of cherry and pleasantly perfumed violets. On the palate are well concentrated fruit notes that are persistent throughout. The texture is super soft. It ends with a slight spice that lingers nicely. Worth every penny. It is a joy to drink.

Additional Information:


Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Sonoma County

- Second in fame only to Napa, this "other" valley offers just about every climate and topography imaginable. From its cool and fog-enshrouded coastal regions on the far west, to the sprawling Alexander Valley on the boarder of Napa and the many little dips and peaks in between, Sonoma has been a vital wine-grape-growing region since the mid 1800s. Important sub-AVAs include Chalk Hill (known for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), Dry Creek Valley (where zin is king) Knights Valley (largely cabernet land), Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast (both celebrated pinot and chardonnay zones).
Alcohol Content (%): 14.1