1997 Kistler "Kistler Vineyard" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

SKU #940180 94-96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 1997 Pinot Noir Kistler Vineyard (500 cases) is made from the Dijon clone 777, and two California clones, Pommard and Calera. It boasts a dense, saturated dark ruby/purple color, as well as an exceptionally sweet nose of roasted herbs and black cherry jam intermixed with raspberries, truffles, and toasty oak. Sweet and expansive, this full-bodied wine possesses fabulous concentration and purity, a grand cru-like level of potential complexity, and a 30+-second finish. It must be tasted to be believed. Look for this wine to be drinkable upon release, and last for at least a decade. This wine is among of the most spectacular Pinot Noirs I have ever tasted. (RP)  (12/1998)

90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Deep red-ruby color. Sappy, floral aromas of crushed red fruits, cola, bitter chocolate and pungent oak. Concentrated, clean and deep on the palate; a substantial, rich wine whose new oak scents currently mute its flamboyant raspberry and cherry flavors. I'd be a bit more confident about the future of this bottle if the oak had not turned a bit tarry with aeration. (ST)  (5/2000)

K&L Notes

Rare and highly collectable! Kistler's low-yielding (less than two tons per acre), dry farmed Pinot Noir vineyard in the Russian River Valley contains a mix of clones from French and American sources. The vinification of this Pinot Noir begins with an extended cold maceration of the grapes with their juice (for the extraction of flavors without tannin), followed by a traditional fermentation with 50-100% stem inclusion. Total cuvaison time is up to four weeks and the wine is aged in 100% new French oak barrels for 18 months before being bottled unfined and unfiltered.

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Price: $149.99
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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.