For years a lot of the Pinot Noir in California was grown in some questionable (for Pinot) locations. Over time vineyard managers and winemakers learned more about the unique spots that are best for this legendarily finicky grape. One appellation that was long ago indentified as a Pinot Noir haven is the Russian River Valley. Today I’ll look at a trio of new releases from Matrix Winery. The Matrix Winery 2009 Buoncristiani Vineyard Pinot Noir was made using Russian River Valley Fruit. This is a single vineyard effort made entirely from Pinot Noir. The Buoncristiani Vineyard which was planted in 2002, and sits 150 feet above sea level, features clones 115 and 777. After hand harvesting the fruit was fermented utilizing native yeasts. Barrel aging took place over 19 months in French oak. 199 cases of this wine were produced and it has a suggested retail price of $36.
Aromas of cherry, spice, earth and mushroom are all present on the nose of this Pinot Noir. Fruitcake spices, strawberry, and plum flavors are all in evidence through the palate which has nice depth. Rhubarb and sour cherry highlight the finish which is long and warming. Red fruits star and are tinged by hints of black. This is a classic example of Russian River Pinot Noir. It’s delicious all by itself and will pair well with a wide variety of foods.
The Matrix Winery 2009 Bacigalupi Vineyard Pinot Noir was produced using Russian River Valley Fruit. This is a single vineyard effort with all of the fruit sourced at the namesake vineyard. This offering is 100% Pinot Noir. The Bacigalupi vineyard which was planted in 1995 and 2003 features 2 clones, 667 and Wadensville. After being hand picked the fruit was fermented utilizing native yeast. The wine was aged over a period of 18 months in French oak. 199 cases were produced and it has a suggested retail price of $38.
Bright red cherry aromas fill the nose of this 2009 Pinot Noir. Hints of cedar and herb are in evidence as well. Strawberry, cherry and earth are joined by vanilla bean throughout the flavorful palate. Black cherry and rhubarb are both on hand through the finish which has good length. This wine is balanced by fine acidity. It drinks particularly nicely on its own and will also complement food. However, it’s a particularly nice bottle to sit in the corner and contemplate life with. It’s a little tight out of the bottle showing its youth. If you’re drinking it now I recommend decanting it for 90 minutes or so.
The Matrix Winery 2009 Nunes Vineyard Pinot Noir was made using Russian River Fruit. This single vineyard effort is made up of 100% Pinot Noir. The Nunes Vineyard was planted in 2000; it featurtes clones 115 and 777. Barrel aging took place over 18 months in all French oak. 199 cases of this release were produced and it has a suggested retail price of $42.
Aromas of dry wild strawberry and hints of green herbs fill the nose of this Pinot Noir. Cherry dominates the palate with both black and red fruits checking in; red raspberry is of particular note. The finish on this wine is quite long and loaded with spices, black tea and sour black cherry flavors. It has finely ground tannins and firm acidity making this a surefire bet with a vast multitude of different food styles. This wine is tasty now but is sure to be even better in a year or so. If you’re drinking it over the next 12 months, decant if for at least an hour for best results.
This is a fine group of releases from Matrix Winery. In addition to showcasing the appropriate nature of Russian River Valley as a bastion for Pinot Noir they also highlight the specific vineyards beautifully and distinctly. These are well priced, small lot wines that will each age nicely. In fact this entire trio, particularly the Nunes will really benefit from some additional time in the bottle. If you’re a fan of new world Pinot Noir these efforts from Matrix are worth your time and money.