2007 River Ranch Pinot Noir Estate Reserve (Carmel Valley) Monterey.
Bill Stahl’s tiny estate in the beautiful Carmel Valley was planted in 1983 to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, as he was in love with Burgundy, in fact he made sure his cuttings came from Grand Cru plantings, the “rumor” is and has been that these were “La Tache” clone, from Romanee-Conti. He had until the 2007 vintage had Talbott Vineyards make his small production wines, though he never touched the expectations he had hoped for, but then he enlisted Peter Figge, a vineyard guru and talent, and now the wine is finally closing in on its potential. This is the best wine I’ve tried from this estate, even though the 1994 was very good, this is a wonderful and complex Pinot Noir of style and complexity. Without decanting, and being the very first bottle show to the trade, it jumped out of the glass with robust intensity and vibrant flavors that filled the mouth and came in silky thick layers on the palate. This is a very impressive young Pinot that has lots of depth and richness with an explosion of cherry and plum fruit and touches of smoke, mineral, river rock, truffle, mint leaf, and vanilla. After letting it open, you were rewarded with lots more cherry fruit, spice and a lovely perfume of wildflowers, violets and rose oil. This wine has Burgundy like acidity and firm structure, so decant when young. Congrats to Bill and Peter for making the best Carmel Valley Pinot Noir to date, and it should just get more interesting and intriguing with a little more age. Only 53 Cases made. ($40 Est.) 92-93 Points, grapelive
*Pre-Release Sample, this wine is not due to be released until August 2009.
Pre-Orders taken at Rancho Cellars Fine Wine Merchants