2012 Rivers-Marie "Occidental Ridge Vineyard" Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

SKU #1329262 95 points Vinous

 The 2012 Pinot Noir Occidental Ridge Vineyard is arguably the most dense and compact of these Pinots. Here, it is the wine's structure that stands out most. Whereas most of the 2012 Rivers-Marie Pinots are drinking well right now, the Occidental Ridge is a wine that needs to be cellared for at least another year or two. Firm tannins support a salivating finish laced with dark red and blue tones fruit, crushed rocks and chalk. A dollop of whole clusters (10%) adds nuance. Readers who can find the Occidental Ridge should not hesitate, it is fabulous. (AG)  (2/2014)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (vinified with some whole clusters, as Thomas Brown feels that the stems "cut through the wine's candied mid-palate"): Dark, bright red. Complex aromas of raspberry, plum, white pepper, medicinal herbs and mint, complicated by an earthy nuance. Silky, tactile and light on its feet, with brisk acidity and a note of fresh herbs giving lift to the red fruit flavors. This Chambolle-like pinot finishes juicy and persistent, with firm, suave tannins. (ST)  (5/2014)

90 points Allen Meadows - Burghound

 An attractively fresh and layered nose features notes of plum, spice, dark currant and dark pinot. There is a seductive mouth feel to the round, supple and delicious medium weight flavors that possess fine mid-palate volume, all wrapped in a dusty, complex and balanced and admirably persistent finish. This too will require a few years to soften the supporting structure but it should be worth the wait.  (4/2015)

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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:

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).