2012 Joseph Jewell Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

SKU #1176205 95 points Wine & Spirits

 **Top 100 Wines of 2014 (publishing in October)** Young winemakers Micah Joseph Wirth and Adrian Jewell Manspeaker started out in a garage in 2006 and have slowly expanded, making Russian River wines that tend to emphasize discretion rather than bombast. Their even-handed approach clearly paid off in the moderate 2012 growing season, resulting in this sleek, vivid apotheosis of Russian River pinot noir. The fruit comes from two vineyards on the cooler western side of the Russian River Valley--Appian Way and the dry-farmed Hallberg Vineyard--along with Floodgate, a lower-lying vineyard in the center of the valley. There’s not an ounce of undue fat on this wine, just a lively concentration of red fruit and firm berry-skin tannins. The wine’s complex, delicate aromas suggest the bay laurel and redwood bark scents you might encounter on a hike in the forests above the Russian River. This gains clarity and intensity with air, suggesting that, while it’s irresistible now, it will be even more captivating in five years’ time. (658 cases)  (8/2014)

K&L Notes

Sourced from three important Russian River Valley Vineyards (Hallberg, Floodgate, and Appian Way), Joseph Jewell has a rousing success with this 2012 Pinot Noir bottling. Bottled unfined and unfiltered, the wine was aged in French oak for 10 months but with very little new wood, allowing the purity of the fruit and earth tones to shine. From the winery: "It offers a perfume of cherry liqueur, cassis, wild rose, vanilla, and baking spice. Bright red fruits dominate the palate, particularly red cherry and pomegranate. Ample acidity keeps those fruit flavors in balance. This wine finishes with an earthy complexity and lingering notes of red fruit."

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Price: $29.99
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Staff Image By: Michael Jordan | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/16/2015 | Send Email
I first brought in the Joseph Jewell wines back in the 2009 vintage. I always thought the wine was well made and our customers have always enjoyed them. The 2012 Russian River has reached new heights for the winery. A very feminine style of Russian River Pinot Noir with lovely cherry fruit, baking spice and just a hint of vanilla and cedar. Earthy notes show nicely throughout the mouth and the generous acidity weaves well through the lovely ripe fruit. Adrian and Micah have added another notch on their belt with this one.

Staff Image By: Scott Beckerley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/22/2014 | Send Email
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Very pretty nose of red cassis, dark cherry, cream and light earth. Unfined and unfiltered, yet, not blocky or chunky. Bright cherries on the palate, with notes of spice and earth. Excellent acidity on the finish that adds grace and balance. A very substantial, and delicious, effort.

Staff Image By: John Majeski | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/21/2014 | Send Email
Nothing exists in isolation. I was just listening to Tom Waits' hilarious cryptic dirge from Mule Variations, "What's He Building In There?" about a strange guy hammering "what the hell?" in his garage when I flashed on not just Jobs and Wozniak but a few of the famed California winemakers—think Burt Williams and Ed Selyem—who started out finicking, blending and canoodling with stuff in their garage. It comes as no surprise that two young "garagistes," Micah Joseph Wirth and Adrian Jewell Manspeaker, also finessed their first Pinot from such economies of scale, by realizing that measured growth, savvy inspiration and the right fruit go a long way in the creation of a well-crafted wine. Their latest cuveé, gathering fruit from three primarily cooler sites in the Russian River Valley, is a deft expression— nothing overstated or overblown— just pure, delicate aromas of black cherry, gentle spice, a kiss of rose petals and oolong tea leaves, sleekly stylish yet savory, touched by sultry tannins and warm earth. Now put down that hammer, turn up the music, sit back and enjoy a glass of great Pinot!

Staff Image By: Steve Bearden | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/18/2014 | Send Email
This has the weight and texture you expect of Pinot from the Russian River Valley yet remains pure, bright and dry. An array of ripe red fruits, touches of earth and hints of spice evolve and expand as this opens up in the glass and the palate cleansing finish is clean and snappy.

Staff Image By: Mahon McGrath | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/15/2014 | Send Email
From out of a lineup of domestic Pinot Noirs recently, this one really stole the show for me. Funny thing is, it isn’t a show stopper: it is commendable for the restraint it displays. The fruit is very pure and natural, dialing back the ripeness quotient you often contend with in California Pinot Noirs, the flavors have intensity without heaviness, and the body is trim, taut, and focused; in other words, it shows all the gracefulness you might hope for in a Pinot, but which is often sadly lacking for one reason or another.

Staff Image By: Mike Parres | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/11/2014 | Send Email
Rich with integrated tannins and flavors of powdered cocoa, ripe dark cherry and pomegranate, this Pinot Noir is a classic example of Pinot Noir grown in the Russian River Valley.

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.


- 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.
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.
Alcohol Content (%): 13.95