The SOMM Journal

June / July 2017

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Page 97 of 124

STANLY RANCH After deciding to make a Pinot Noir, Woodbridge set his sights on Stanly Ranch, one of the most coveted vine- yards in Northern California for growing cool-climate grapes like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Located on the Napa side of the Los Carneros AVA, and in close prox - imity to breezy, foggy San Pablo Bay, the vineyards soils consist mostly of well-drained Haire loam. Following a bit of pre-Prohibition history going back to the late 1800s, André Tchelistcheff and Louis M. Martini began purchasing grapes from Stanly Ranch in the 1930s, as it was one of the few areas that had survived the phylloxera infestation of the 1880s. (Agriculturally innovative Judge John Stanly is credited with develop - ing a phylloxera-resistant rootstalk.) In 1942, Martini purchased 200 acres and committed to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay clonal experimentation over the next few decades. The Wente family and U.C. Davis would later join him in these efforts. Today, a bevy of respected producers source Pinot Noir from Stanly Ranch. Cherry Pie's version comes from her best lots, which are then vinified separately to isolate the signature profiles of each block. Keith Nelson, Beverage Director of Tao Group in New York has been in the business for 20 years. He serves Cherry Pie by the glass at Avra, his fine-dining Mediterranean restaurant featuring fresh fish by the pound. He also serves the single-vineyard Stanly Ranch and Rodgers Creek by the bottle in virtually all of his concepts. Says Nelson, "I have either the Rodgers Creek or the Stanly Ranch almost everywhere. Stanly Ranch is really well known in the wine community and a lot of great producers get fruit from Stanly Ranch . . . For people who want to drink bolder yet fruitier red wine with their fish, Cherry Pie is a great option. When some - one at the table is not eating fish, we do this beautiful lamb dish and chicken dish that are super herbal. You've got this earthy, herbal quality that sets off some of the spice in the Stanly Ranch—really nice. Cherry Pie for me is a very appealing style to a lot American wine drinkers because it gives you a lot of pleasure immediately." Keith Nelson, Beverage Director, Tao Group, New York. RODGERS CREEK Within the Sonoma Coast AVA, between the towns of Petaluma and Sonoma, lies Rodgers Creek Vineyard. At 600 feet above sea level, it is greatly influenced by cool gusty winds funneled in through the Petaluma Gap. The soil is mostly volcanic (white rhyolite volcanic ash). The combination of this volcanic soil and its breezy climate makes Rodgers Creek for ideal growing conditions for Pinot Noir, and it tends to produce earthier versions. Zarko Stankovik, Director of Beverage for the immensely popular rooftop restaurant Juvia in Miami Beach, runs a wine program of around 500 selections. Says Stankovik, "I like to pick Pinot Noirs like Cherry Pie that aren't quite as heavy as a Cab or Malbec. They're lighter in structure comparatively; however, they still have a little bit of body and a higher alcohol level that can satisfy that thirst for a fuller-bodied wine that our customers look for. We have the Rodgers Creek 2013 and the Carinalli 2012. Both of them you can describe as a classic Sonoma County Pinot Noir—they both have a little bit of smokiness, and they're fuller-bodied in style compared to classic Burgundy. However each vineyard is different geographically. Rodgers Creek is located closer to the ocean, more in the Sonoma Coast range, where there's a constant cool flow from the Pacific Ocean; and since it's in a high elevation it gets more sun, more heat, so more ripening, and the grapes produce fuller-body style of wine. Both of them can be a bit smoky, flinty; however, the Rodgers Creek is always fuller in body, with more of the darker fruits, more blueberries. It's interesting, though, how well they work with a lot of our dishes, since the menu is very complex. We have a lot of crudos, some sushi, some big steaks too, like the Porterhouse in our charcoal grill selection; because of the volcanic alluvial soil in Sonoma, both of these Pinots work really well with the smokier grilled meats." Watch for more on the single-vineyard expressions of Cherry Pie Pinot Noir in the next issue of The Somm Journal. PHOTO: DOUG YOUNG A sunset over Rodgers Creek Vineyard in the Sonoma Coast AVA. Zarko Stankovik, Director of Beverage, Juvia, Miami Beach. PHOTO: BEN RUSNAK PHOTO COURTESY OF HUNDRED ACRE WINE GROUP

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