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Screen Door Cellars

Sometimes great wine just drops in your lap. This past Christmas I rented a house in Sebastopol and spent the Christmas holiday there with my family. Upon my arrival, the property manager gave me a bottle of 2012 Screen Door Cellars Russian River Valley Pinot Noir as a welcoming gift. Her neighbors were the owners of this winery. I was very impressed by the wine and previously reviewed it in the PinotFile. The latest 2013 vintage release is even better.

Screen Door Cellars is the dream of wine industry veterans Bobby and Shannon Donnell. Bobby left his work in the Texas restaurant business and moved to Northern California, where he planned to sail with a friend for the summer. He quickly fell in love with the area and a beautiful California blonde named Shannon. Since he had a longtime passion for wine and fermentation science, Bobby decided to stay and work a harvest.

After his first vintage at St. Clement, he was hooked, and over the past twelve years he has worked in all aspects of winery production with some of Napa’s most celebrated vintners. In 2008, while at Provenance Vineyard, Bobby completed the University of California at Davis Winemaking Certificate Program and now works as winemaker at Amici Cellars. Shannon is an experienced viticulturist who previously worked for Duckhorn Vineyards and is now at Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards.

The first vintage of Screen Door Cellars Pinot Noir amounted to 100 cases. The second, 2013 vintage, produced 180 cases.

2013 Screen Door Cellars Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 180 cases, $50. Sourced from Leras Family Vineyard. Primarily Pommard clone, with a small portion of “828” and 115 cofermented. Aged 11 months in 100% French oak barrels, 40% new. · Moderately light cherry color in the glass. Soaring aromas of Bing cherry, baking spice and toast set the stage. On entry, the mouthful of cherry goodness really opens your eyes, and accent flavors of cola, cardamom and oak add interest. The wine is beautifully composed, with balanced tannins and an expansive black cherry finish that will bring you to your knees. Quintessential Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. I loved it! Score: 94

Email Shannon at to obtain the wine. The website,, is in development.

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