2011 Joseph Phelps "Freestone Vineyard" Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir (Previously $50)

SKU #1137079 93 points Wine Enthusiast

 The parts haven’t fully come together yet in this ageable wine. It has mouthwatering acidity and vastly complex flavors, ranging from ripe heirloom tomatoes, cola, pomegranates and cranberries, to ripe cherries and red currants. With flavors of oak and some hard tannins, it’s a natural for the cellar. Hold for at least six years.  (9/2013)

91 points Vinous

 The 2011 Pinot Noir Estate Freestone Vineyard has shut down in bottle considerably. Today the tannins are quite firm and clenched. The flavors are bright and expressive, while the savory notes typical of the cool year are very much evident, particularly some of the gamier nuances that have always been a part of this wine. I would give the 2011 at least another few months in bottle to allow some of the structural components to integrate further.  (2/2014)

90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 vinified with 35% whole clusters; aged for 13 months in 40% new French oak): Bright medium red. Red berries, pungent brown spices, black tea and flowers on the nose, accented by peppery herbs. At once ripe and dry, offering moderate depth and complexity but excellent energy to the red fruit and spice flavors. There are more than 3,300 cases of this very good entry-level pinot.  (5/2013)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2011 Pinot Noir Freestone Vineyard is a 3,400-case cuvee aged 13 months in 40% new French oak. The alcohol achieved a modest 13.5%. Made totally from Dijon clonal material, it exhibits notes of strawberries, raspberries, tobacco leaf and lavender. Nicely structured and medium-bodied with good density and fruit as well as a slightly compact finish, it can be consumed over the next 4-5 years. Joseph Phelps has a whopping 102 acres on the Sonoma Coast called the Freestone Vineyard, 82 acres of which is planted in Pinot Noir and the balance Chardonnay.  (12/2013)

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Varietal:

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.
Country:

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.
Sub-Region:

California

- 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).