2007 Pinot Noir, Oehlman Vineyard
This Pinot Noir is one of my all-time favorite vintages. Ripe cherry fruit leaps from the glass and keeps going with a rich, silky finish that begs for another sip. The Oehlman family has been farming their land on Vine Hill Rd., nestled between famous Pinot vineyards, for five generations. The bald eagles are back to nest in a grove of eucalyptus trees next to the vineyard, and we hope to catch a glimpse of the fledglings eagles next time we visit. The vineyard is planted with Martini clone Pinot Noir, which is one of the original clones planted in Russian River Valley. We crush the grapes into one-ton open top fermentors and keep them cool for 5 days with dry ice to allow the juice to extract as much flavor and color from the skins before the fermentation begins. During fermentation, we ‘punch down’ the grape skins every hour or so to keep them submerged in the juice. The wine is pressed out into 50% new French Oak barrels and aged for 18 months before bottling. The result is a fabulous Russian River Pinot in the French Burgundian style. Gorgeous ruby color, rich fruit, notes of floral vanilla and spice, and a balanced acidity. Pinot is supposed to be light in color, rich in flavor and silky smooth in the finish. I think that people who are looking for dark, extracted, high-octane Pinot are really looking for a Syrah or Zinfandel.