Sunday, August 14, 2011

2005 Rosella's from Kosta-Browne

Only the most reputed winemakers gets to purchase grapes from the famous vineyards of Gary Pisoni and Gary Franscioni in Santa Lucia Highlands, and Michael Browne of the premium Pinot Noir winery Kosta-Browne is one of very few who can boast to buy from both Pisoni Vineyard, Gary's Vineyard and Rosella's Vineyard.
The Rosella's Vineyard is located on the middle slope in the central parts of the Santa Lucia Highland bench, a location where the cool airflow from the Monterey Bay in the north still is important, but where there also are influences from the warmer inland part of the Salinas Valley. Therefore the wines from site normally combines high aromatics and a fresh acidity with some weight and good mouthfeel. The vineyard covers 20.25 hectares and is plantet to Pinot Noir of the clones Dijon 667, Dijon 777, Dijon 828, as well as the suitcase clone known as Pisoni Clone.
The 2005 is the first vintage from this vineyard for Kosta-Browne.

2005 Pinot Noir Rosella's Vineyard89 p
The clones Dijon 828 and Pisoni Clones are used for this wine, and the grapes are harvested at high 25.8 Brix, or higher (whoch in my opinion is too high to capture finesse). For some wines, or some part of some wines, Michael Browne works with whole cluster, but from this vineyard he prefer to destem all grapes. As always, there is a myriad of variations when it comes to vinification, each clone and vineyard, and part of the vineyard, are treated differently, and in the end it's all about blending all fractions for each wine in the very best way. For this wine, vinification goes something like this: five days of cold soak i small open top fermenters of stainless steel, followed by an alcoholic fermentatio that last for aound ten days, with pigeage two times per day. The wine is then transferred into French oak barrels, around 50 percent new, for malolactic fermentation and 15 monts of ageing.
In some years, alocohol reach around 14.5 to 14.8 percent, but in this vintage the label show 15.3 percent. Which is high, too high.
Even though ripeness was high, the wine offers a charming and intense nose, loades with red berries and a dash of rosehips. (I have tasted so many wines from Rosella's, from other producers, and the rose petals and rosehips seems to be part of the vineyards personality.) At first there was a slight oaky note, but it was toned down as the wine opened up with air. Lovely! I wouldn't really call it "burgundian like", it's to intense and rich for that, but there are several details in the wine reminiscent of great premier crus from Gevrey-Chambertin, although in a very ripe year. Also, details remiscent of Grenache...
On the palate, it's medium bodied, fresh and pure with a ripe but not really sweetish red fruit flavor. Tannins are silky, which makes the wine so enjoyable, and acidity is fresh but in no sense sharp. It's a very fine wine indeed, but I would have scored it slighly higher if it didn't have that slightly sunburnt grape skin flavor (it's almost not there) and if the finish would have been a little longer. Other than that, there's nothing to complain about if you are looking for a rich, intense and seductive Californian pinot.
I would actually pour it directly from the bottle, for everyone to enjoy the evolution with air (with more aeration, it becomes more Grenache-like), and I recommend a serving temperature at around 16 degress, but not higher than that.
Drink it 2011-2013

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