george wine company, vintage IV
Regular readers of the PinotFile will know the story of george wine company. George Levkoff had his
wine epiphany when a friend brought a 1991 and 1992 Williams Selyem Rochioli Vineyard Pinot Noir
to share at dinner. Four years later, he left his job as a bond trader on Wall Street and headed west to
Sonoma. He interned at Williams Selyem from 1999 to 2002, learning the winemaking process. He also
worked at the smaller Brogan Cellars which was more closely modeled after the type of winery he
hoped to have for himself. With grapes from David Hirsch of Sonoma Coast’s Hirsch Vineyard, he released
150 cases of his inaugural Pinot Noirs in 2003 (Block 3A from the Pommard clone and Block 4A
from the Mt. Eden clone). The wines immediately caught the attention of top sommeliers at restaurants
in Las Vegas and New York and his Pinot Noir has become quite a cult wine. I have been a fan from
the beginning, entranced by the elegance and sensuality that his wines exhibit.
Vintage II (2004) consisted of 125 cases of Hirsch Block 3A
and Block 4A Pinot Noir and 125 cases of Martinelli Nuptial
Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Vintage III
(2005) yields were miniscule at Hirsch and george only
made tiny amounts of Hirsch Pinot Noir along with the
Martinelli Nuptial Vineyard Pinot Noir. The Vintage IV
(2006) offering has just come out. With this latest vintage,
george has achieved his initial goal of producing 500
cases of Pinot Noir. The releases include the 2006 george
Martinelli Nuptial Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
(300 cases), 2006 george Leras Family Vineyard Russian
River Valley Pinot Noir (100 cases - farmed by Nick Leras
since 1957) and 2006 george Marta Ella Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (100 cases - this vineyard
is adjacent to, and owned by, Benovia Winery and is managed by well-respected viticulturist
Daniel Roberts). The three Pinot Noirs are sold in either a 6-pack ($300)or 12-pack ($600) mixture of
the three wines.
Now george has a thing for small case, but his wines are good with a capital G. He is a one man show
and his wines show his imprint from start to finish. He sorts the grapes by hand, does the punchdowns,
crafts the wine (100% new Francois Freres French oak), bottles the wine, hand-numbers each
bottle, and personally delivers the wine to many customers.
I have not tasted the 2006 Pinot Noirs, but here is a recent tasting note from last year’s vintage.
2007 Rivers-Marie Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Aromas of bright cherries carry through to the finish.
Delicious and juicy, with lively acidity on the finish. Needs a little time to shed refined, but notable
2006 Aston Estate Sonoma Coast Clone 777 Pinot Noir
Subdued nose showing demure black cherry and wild herb aromas
with a whiff of alcohol. Substantial dark red fruit core with a hint
of chocolate. The wine is quite withdrawn at present. Nicely balanced
with a clean finish. This shows good potential and will benefit from another
one to two years in bottle.
2006 Aston Estate Sonoma Coast Clones 115, 777 Pinot Noir
14.6% alc., $70.
Intriguing perfume of
underbrush, forest floor and dark red cherry with a nice hint of oak. The wine shows a soft core of tannin
wrapped in layers of luscious cherry and raspberry fruit, providing a fullness that envelopes the tongue.
Everything is in beautiful balance and the combination of two clones provides more interest than the
single clonal wines described above. This was downright terrific the next day when sampled from an
opened, re-corked bottle.
2005 Aston Estate Sonoma Coast Clone 777 Pinot Noir
Dark reddish-purple. Clean aromas of Chinese plum sauce,
blackberries and fresh oak. Tart black cherry and anise flavors with a
citrus note on the finish. Acidity is a little too much now. Needs food.
george wine company is located in Healdsburg (the wine is made at Moshin on Westside Road in the
Russian River Valley). The wines are sold exclusively to a mailing list at www.georgewine.com. 707-
495-7783. If you can’t snag some, the following restaurants have it: Aureole Restaurant, Charlie Palmer
Steak, Delmonico Steakhouse, Le Cirque, Michael Mina Bellagio, Postrio, Spago all in Las Vegas, BLT
Steak, Buddakan, Café Boulud, Gotham Bar & Grill, craft, db Bistro moderne, Eleven Madison Park all
in New York City, and Campanile, CUT, Cyrus, Dry Creek Kitchen, Jardinere, Madrona Manor, Restaurant
Gary Danko, and XYZ, all in California.