Saturday, December 11, 2010

Kistler Vineyards in Russian River Valley may well be more known for their chardonnays, but there is actually a quite substantial production of pinots here as well. Around 10 to 20 percent of the total annual production of 23 000 to 28 000 cases of wines (depending on the vintage) will be made of Pinot Noir. Of that, the pinot from Kistler Vineyard is by far the most important.
Yields are always kept low, normally at 23-25 hectoliters per hectare, and there’s always a first strict selection in the vineyard before the grapes are trucked to the well designed winery at Vine Hill Road in the heartland of Russian River Valley. There will then be another selection at a sorting table, before the clusters are destemmed. Each single block and clone of Pinot Noir is fermented in separate lots in small open top tanks of stainless steel, and prior to the fermentation there will be a few days of cold soak at ten degrees Celsius. After almost four weeks of fermentation and gentle pigeage, the free run wine it then transferred into French oak barrels, approximately 40-50 percent new, to complete malolactic fermentation, (this will occur completely natural without any enzymes in slightly heated chambers in the underground wine cellar.
In the early days, the pinots were a bit more concentrated and oaky, but over the last ten vintages, there has been a slight change into something more elegant - lower alcohol, less new oak - just as for the chardonnays . Still, these wines are by no means fashioned in a burgundian style. They are Californian, and should be, whether you like it or not!

2008 Pinot Noir Kistler Vineyard / 92-93 p
This cuvée consists of Pinot Noir from several vineyard lots and of several clones, the Dijon 777 and the two older American selections Calera and Swan. It have spent a good year in oak. There have been some issues regarding the fires in 2008, and some wines from the vintage are tainted by smoke. This is not.
On the nose, it’s quite intense, and at first glance there are some quite interesting, fruit forward, dark scented and earthy aromas reminiscent of those in modern wines from Vosne-Romanée. However, there is a slight sweetness here, and no chalky mineral qualities, and of course there’s a good portion of oak, but not to that extent it makes the wine unbalanced. It’s just young, and it needs some time. I noticed, over the 30 minutes I had the wine in my glass, that the fruit opened up with air as the spicy oak almost went away, so decanting may be a good idea if drinking it young. The 14.1 percent of alcohol is well balanced by the medium intense body, but tannins are young but ripe and almost – at this stage – totally balanced by the fine, dark scented and sweet cherry fruit. I particularly like the lingering aftertaste – it’s noble, but young and not as silky as it will be in at years or two. Around 25 700 bottles were made.
Drink it 2012-2020.

No comments:

Post a Comment