2013 Hartford Court "MacLean's Block" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

SKU #1271280 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2013 Pinot Noir MacLean Block comes from a vineyard east of the town of Occidental and saw 36% new French oak prior to being bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is from Dijon clone 667 and 777 from a relatively high-elevation site that needs plenty of time to ripen fully. About 30% whole-clusters were used in this wine, which is dense ruby/purple with loads of spice, damp earth, forest floor and mushrooms as well as raspberry and black cherry fruit. It should drink well for up to a decade. With proprietor Don Hartford in full control, and brilliant winemaker Jeff Stewart having access to some magnificent cool-climate sites (for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel), Hartford Family Winery continues to be one of the great success stories in California viticulture. The Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs all have very Burgundian personalities, no doubt from the minimal-interference winemaking, great terroirs and terrific raw materials. The Zinfandels are certainly among the top half-dozen or so Zinfandels produced in all of California. I have always had fabulous tastings with Don Hartford and his winemaker, but this may have been the best tasting ever, largely because of the strength of the 2014 Chardonnays and Zinfandels and the 2013 Pinot Noirs. (RP)  (10/2015)

89-91 points Vinous

 Game, smoke, tobacco, savory herbs and leather emerge from the 2013 Pinot Noir MacLean's Block. This is one of the wilder, more savory wines in the range. Slightly angular contours and incisive tannins give the MacLean's Block much of its distinctive personality. It’s hard to know where to start with this superb set of new and upcoming releases from Don Hartford and Jeff Stewart. The Chardonnays and Pinots get most of the attention, but the Zinfandels, most of which emerge from 100 year-old vineyards, may very well be the most impressed wines in this range. The Chardonnays are all fermented and aged in barrel (around 33%-60% new) for 15 months and bottled with no fining or filtration. Pretty much the same is true of the Pinots, which perhaps see a touch less new oak than the Chardonnays. The Zinfandels are made in a distinctly Pinot-influenced style that emphasizes aromatics and silkiness. (AG)  (1/2015)

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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:

Alexander Valley/Russian River

- Among Sonoma County's northernmost appellations, the Alexander Valley AVA acts as a gateway to neighboring Napa to the east and Mendocino to the north. It is a sprawling appellation, with pockets of distinct microclimates and soils, and as such, is home to a variety of wine grapes and styles. Nearly everything grows in the Alexander Valley, though Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are the most widely planted grapes. The Russian River Valley lies to the south of Alexander Valley, and is marked by much cooler temperatures and frequently heavy fog. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown here are some of the state's finest and most sought-after. Aromatic whites like Gewürztraminer and Riesling can also be successful, and sparkling wine production has a long history in the area.