Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Send Agent Red to Clary Wine Cellars to investigate reports reports of their delicious, dark Pinot Noir – and secure an ample allotment for our Pinot-loving Operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Clary Ranch Cellars
Wine Subject: 2007 Fleur de la Vignes Pinot Noir – Sonoma Coast
Winemaker: Paul Clary
The Sonoma Coast AVA is the 750 square mile area with the Pacific ocean on its western boundary, the San Pablo Bay to the south and Mendocino County to the north, headed inland to the other designated AVAs in Sonoma County. The region is heavily influenced by the cooler ocean climate, increased rainfall and fog that lingers long on the coastal mountains. The specific climate suits the demanding Burgundian varietals of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay very well.
Today’s wine is a darker, more extracted and more concentrated interpretation of Pinot Noir than we are used to from a Sonoma Coast Pinot. We selected it for these very same reasons.
Look – Dark burgundy hues with a deepening heart of darkest garnet. At the edge of the wine, where wine meets glass, a wide ring of rusty garnet encircles the wine. After swirling, long, heavy, wine-stained tears fall slowly from high up on the glass wall.
Smell – Jammy and almost port-like at first, leading with bold and jammy black fruit of blackberry, plum, blueberry and black currant. This wine needs some time to breathe before releasing some of its more subtle aromas. These include dried blueberry, cherry cola, warm brown spice, dried violets, cedar and toasty oak.
Feel – Smooth and round as it crosses the tip of the tongue. At the mid-palate, the wine gains some weight and dimension, giving it a more plush and full-bodied feel. Medium tannins add complexity, driving a dark dryness from the center to the edges of the palate.
Taste – Packed with dark flavors, displaying rich overripe blackberry, black cherry, wild dark strawberry and dried black flower petals. Earthy red cherry, black tea leaf, dried leather and dried herbs follow on.
Finish – Very long, with pronounced black fruit that lingers for a long time, ultimately yielding to earthy herbs, leather and black tea.
Conclusion – Today’s Pinot Noir is a unique wine among Pinots from the Sonoma Coast. It is far darker, far richer and far more fruitful than those that we’ve tasted to date. Allow the wine to breathe for at least 30 minutes for best results. Extended decanting (or hearty swirling!) like this allows the fruit to emerge, while also allowing some of the initial heat to blow off. On first eyeing this wine, some on our tasting panel assumed it to be a lighter Syrah. They were surprised to find out that it was a Pinot Noir. The wine is rich, somewhat jammy and laden with dark fruit. And so our tasting of this wine was filled with a certain intrigue; much discussion ensued and, in the end, we could not help but give this very interesting wine our recommendation.