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Sips of the Russian River Valley

2009 Lutea Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $26. Organic grapes. 100% de-stemmed, cold soak, hand punch downs, gentle pressed, aged in French oak barrels, bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Dark color in the glass. Aromas of dried rose petals, brier and green garden. Dark red cherry and raspberry fruits with hints of cola, earth and green herbs. Some persistence on the fruit-filled finish that carries a grip of lively acidity. A green note runs through, seemingly from oak and/or under ripe fruit. Decent.

2009 August West Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., $28. August West is a partnership between Gary Franscioni, Howard Graham and winemaker Ed Kurtzman. · Aromas of cherry tart, baking spices and a hint of oak. Moderately intense and concentrated with flavors of cherry pie filling, berry compote, cola and oak. Very smooth on the palate with soft tannins. Solid but not exciting. Good.

2009 Shane The Charm Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 100 cases, $32. · Deep, dark reddishpurple color in the glass. Slightly reduced initially, evolving to reveal shy aromas of dark fruits, cut flowers and smoky oak. Fat on the palate with a full load of plum and cassis flavor with a noticeable oak accent. Lacks acidity, seemingly a bit flabby with a slight bitterness on the finish. Decent.

2009 Sequana Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.56, 2,350 cases, $38. Grapes sourced from Green Valley of Russian River Valley. Aged sur lie in 40% new French oak barrels for 11 months. Winemaker is James MacPhail. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with scents of fresh baked cherry pie, ripe strawberries and cut flowers. Elegantly composed with pleasing flavors of red cherries, cola and savory herbs. The texture is marked by silk and satin. Quintessential Russian River Valley Pinot. Very good.

2008 Gary Farrell Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.47, TA 0.63, 4,332 cases, $42. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, inoculation with Assmannshausen yeast, aged 8 months in a combination of 30% new, 27% 1- year old, 20% 2-year old, and 23% 3-year old French oak barrels. Winemaker Susan Reed. · Typical Russian River Valley perfume of Bing cherries, baking spices and cola. Slightly tart and lean flavors of well-spiced cherries and cranberries with oak providing support in the background and a note of minerality playing in the background. Soft, smooth and clean with brisk acidity. A restrained, food-friendly style that does not offer quite the fruit impact that one has come to expect from Russian River Valley appellation bottlings. Good.

2007 Brogan Cellars Buena Tierra Vineyard Helio Doro Block Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $90. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. When first opened, the wine’s fruit was drowned out by oak. Within three days from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine had dramatically transformed with integration of the oak and plenty of bright, nicely spiced black cherry and berry fruit at the forefront. I have tasted many vintages of this wine and this is a relatively light example, even feminine in style. The tannins are supple and the texture is silky adding to the appeal. Very good.

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