Radio-Coteau

Owner(s) Bill Smith, Joan Smith, Eric Sussman
Web site www.radiocoteau.com
 
Link to this site

Radio-Coteau is deservedly a true “cult” Pinot Noir. A “cult” wine is one produced in very small quantities by a very skilled and experienced winegrower and winemaker, sold and tightly allocated through a mailing list, distinguished by unique and special wines, and known only to the most dedicated wine geeks.

Owner Eric Sussman developed an interest in wine while studying agriculture at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He ventured to Washington’s Yakima Valley where he spent several years managing the vines and cellar of a small artisan producer. He then moved on to France and spent the 1995 vintage in Burgundy at Comte Armand in Pommard and Domaine Jacques Prieur in Meursault. After returning to northern California, he worked one year at Bonny Doon and from 1988-2001 as the associate winemaker at Dehlinger. He crossed paths with Bill and Joan Smith, former owners of La Jota, and current owners of W.H. Smith Wines. They formed a partnership that became Radio-Coteau Wine Cellars.

“Radio-coteau” are two conjoined words derived from the northern Rhone region of France. The colloquial meaning is “word of mouth,” but the literal translation is “broadcasting from the hillside.” Eric first heard this expression from a friend while living and working in Burgundy. It refers to a commitment to community, to growers found by word of mouth, tradition handed down in the cellar, and friends helping at harvest.

The inaugural Pinot Noir releases in 2002 focused on vineyards in the true Sonoma Coast and Savoy Vineyard in the Anderson Valley. The wines were received by the wine press with considerable praise and quickly sold out. Andy Tan, noted sommelier and wine retailer said, “This estate is making the most exciting Pinot Noir from California.” After tasting through the 2003 lineup (PinotFile, Volume 4, Issue 44) I noted that all of the wines were superb: “A lot of Pinot and ton of Noir.”

Radio-Coteau is a virtual winery with an excellent website. There is a mailing list signup on the website, but at this point, do not be disappointed by very limited allocations.

Reviewed Wines

2010 Radio-Coteau La Neblina Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., 894 cases, $45. 100% Hallberg Vineyard. Dijon clones 777 and 115. Aged 15 months in FRench oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Very perfumey and floral with added aromas of orange blossoms and candied, spiced raspberries. Moderately rich, featuring sweet, sappy black raspberry and plum fruit flavors that pick up intensity over time in the glass. A fruit and floral driven wine that is soft and gentle in the mouth. Good. Reviewed October 2, 2012 ARTICLE »

2007 Radio-Coteau Alberigi Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 296 cases. Unfined unfiltered. · Pleasant scent of cherry pie and balsam. Bright red spicy fruit with supple tannins and a refreshing grip of acidity on the hi-tone finish. Quintessential Russian River Valley Pinot. Good (+). Reviewed January 27, 2011 ARTICLE »

2007 Radio-Coteau La Neblina Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 1,688 cases. Unfined and unfiltered. · Mysterious, brooding mix of plums, dark cherries and berries with a hint of spice. Moderately intense with well-endowed tannins and a lengthy fruit-driven finish. Good. Reviewed January 27, 2011 ARTICLE »

2007 Radio-Coteau Savoy Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc.. Whole cluster varies but 0% in this vintage. Aged 17 months in 50% new French oak barrels. · A big-boned, husky wine with plentiful tannin balanced by bright acidity. Earthy and dark fruited with underlying notes of tea and mushroom. Good. Reviewed June 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Radio-Coteau Savoy Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., 536 cases. Unfined and unfiltered. · More savory than fruity on the nose with plenty of minty, herbal oak. Richly fruited with flavors of blackberries and plum sauce wrapped in fine-grain tannins. A rugged, beefy wine. Decent. Reviewed January 27, 2011 ARTICLE »

2007 Radio-Coteau Terra Neuma Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 318 cases. Unfined and unfiltered. Sixth generation family owned ranch on a bluff above Bodega a few miles from the Pacific Ocean. · Shy aromas of cherry and berry fruit with oak and bay leaf in the background, echoed in the flavors. Simple and fruity with notable persistence of fruit on the generous finish. Could be from anywhere. Good. Reviewed January 27, 2011 ARTICLE »

2007 Radio-Coteau Savoy Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., 536 cases, $50. · Dark-purple color in the glass. A riper toned nose featuring blackberries, prune, and a touch of cardamon spice. The hedonistic core of ripe, sweet berries has undertones of forest floor and woodshed. Over time, oak threatens to dominate the aromas and flavors. Time is needed to shed the healthy tannins and hopefully integrate the oak. Decent (+). Reviewed January 22, 2010 ARTICLE »

2006 Radio-Coteau La Neblina Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 1,592 cases. Unfined and unfiltered. · The appealing perfume of dark red cherries, currants and raspberries is accented with red candies and vanillin. Luscious core of black cherry fruit with a twist of citrus on the lip-smacking finish. The fruit has impressive zip and zing but is somewhat overwhelmed by the tannins. That said, hard to say no to. Very good. Reviewed January 27, 2011 ARTICLE »

2006 Radio-Coteau Savoy Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 380 cases. Unfined and unfiltered. · The nose offers aromas of mint, oak and tar. Big-boned and muscular, flush with rich dark berry fruit. Rather linear with generously oaked fruit and not much else. Decent. Reviewed January 27, 2011 ARTICLE »

2006 Radio-Coteau Savoy Vineyard Anderson Valley Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 454 cases, $45. · Unfiltered. A delicious wine filled with a rich presence of apples, white peaches, brioche and toasty oak. Harmonious in every way with a finish that would make Hollywood envious. Great with Caesar salad. Reviewed September 5, 2009 ARTICLE »

2006 Radio-Coteau Alberigi Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., $50 434 cases. This vineyard is located on Vine Hill Road. · Heady cherry liquor, anise and barnyard in the perfume. Earthy black cherry and black raspberry fruits accented by tar and rhubarb, with mild drying tannins on the finish. This is a good wine that grows on you and speaks of terroir. Reviewed November 2, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Radio-Coteau Savoy Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 380 cases, $50. · Reticent black cherry and oak spice scents. Earthy with sappy dark fruits and some drying tannins on the finish. Tight and not ready for prime time. Reviewed June 9, 2008 ARTICLE »

2005 Radio-Coteau La Neblina Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 1,740 cases. La Neblina is Spanish for fog. Sourced from a few select vineyards. Unfined and unfiltered. · Savory aromatics featuring underbrush, green tobacco, leather hide and dried cherries. Stacked and packed with dense dark berry and cherry flavor with a bit of tobacco leaf and oak in the background, linger on the big fruit-filled finish. Decent. Reviewed January 27, 2011 ARTICLE »

2005 Radio-Coteau Alberigi Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 436 cases. This vineyard is exclusively sourced by Radio-Coteau and lies in the Vine Hill road area. · The nose offers confected and oak-spiced darker Pinot fruits. Richly layered blackberry and black raspberry extract with noticeable but not intrusive tannins. Well-rounded and immensely satisfying now, it is still a touch awkward and will benefit from more time in the bottle. A great expression of Pinot Noir. Reviewed January 20, 2008 ARTICLE »

2005 Radio-Coteau Alberigi Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 436 cases, $50. Winemaker is Eric Sussman for this small 3,000 case label. · Oak-spiced darker fruits run through this wine which has a healthy tannic backbone. On the palate, there is quite intense and chewy fruit which is well-rounded. A touch awkward now, I have had better bottles of this wine. That said, it was still good. Reviewed April 7, 2008 ARTICLE »

2004 Radio-Coteau La Neblina Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 760 cases, $40. This wine is named for the fog (“La Neblina” is Spanish for fog) that is ever present in the cool vineyards of the western Sonoma Coast. A blend of grapes sourced from two vineyards along the Sonoma Coast (growers Kirk Lokka and Bill Smith), the clones are Dijon 115 and 777. · I love the aromatics featuring perfectly ripe Pinot fruits. There is a panoply of wonderful flavors including black cherry, cassis, mushrooms, spice, smoke and earth. This is the most structured of the three wines, yet light as a feather. A warm fuzzy mouth feel leads to a finish that is long and pure. Reviewed November 27, 2006 ARTICLE »

2004 Radio-Coteau Albirigi Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 150 cases, $42 (sold out). The Alberigi Vineyard sits on Vine Hill Road in the Russian River Valley. The vines here were planted in 2001 (Dijon 114, 115, 777) and thrive on the Goldridge soil . This is the debut bottling from a vineyard sourced exclusively by Radio-Coteau. · This beauty has that Williams Selyem Rochioli nose that I am continually searching for - spicy Bing cherries, Dr Pepper, cola, and a touch of rhubarb. The flavors continue the theme and are light as an angel. Beautifully balanced. This wine does it “nice and easy.” Reviewed November 27, 2006 ARTICLE »

2004 Radio-Coteau Savoy Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 480 cases, $48 This prestigious vineyard farmed by Richard Savoy is the source for many notable California Pinot Noirs (Adrian Fog, Barnett, Littorai, and Roessler). This hillside vineyard is located in a cool, yet sunny site northwest of Philo and has a multiple range of clones, exposures and soils. The vineyard was planted in 1992 and 1996. This bottling contains Pommard, Dijon 115, and Martini clone. · This wine has very nice soft red Pinot fruits on the nose and on the palate accentuated by floral and spice elements. The sweet fruit flavors linger on the finish. The whole package is nicely balanced. Reviewed November 27, 2006 ARTICLE »

2004 Radio-Coteau Terra Neuma Sonoma Coast Pinor Noir

74 cases, $48 (sold out). This is also a debut-bottling from a hillside vineyard farmed biodynamically by the Benzigers. The vineyard is southwest of Freestone, a few miles inland from the Pacific ocean. It was planted in 2002 to Dijon clones 115 and 777. I did not receive any allocation of this limited-production wine so I cannot provide any tasting notes. · Reviewed November 27, 2006 ARTICLE »

2003 Radio-Coteau Hellenthal Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., 100 cases. · Tasted last year, this was a bruiser that needed a lot of air time. Now it is flat-out terrific. The aromatics are rich with dark cherries, dark plum, rhubarb, tea and oak. Beautiful dark Pinot fruits with earthy undertones which are mouth-coating. With air time the wine becomes as soft as a Pinot Noir marshmallow. I would match this against any Burgundy any time. One of the best Pinot Noirs I have drank this year and the stuff that Pinot dreams are made of. Reviewed November 27, 2006 ARTICLE »

2003 Radio-Coteau Marsh Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 74 cases, $40. This wine is from a 1.3-acre vineyard planted to Swan selection located west of Occidental and farmed by owners Peter and Barbara Marsh. · Black cherry dominated scents with a hint of alcohol and cocoa dust. Lush red cherry fruit subtlety spiced,showing good persistence on the long, chewy and brisk finish. Still drinking nicely. Reviewed October 1, 2008 ARTICLE »