The Fort Ross Sea Slopes Pinot Noir 2012 is sourced from the Fort Ross Vineyard in the Fort Ross-Seaview AVA located about an hour and half north and west of San Francisco on the Sonoma Coast of California. Fort Ross-Seaview received AVA designation in 2011 and is situated on coastal ridges near the Pacific Ocean, the climate is marked by lots of sunshine and warmer weather than most of the surrounding area. Fort Ross Vineyard produces the Sea Slopes Pinot Noir in a style that it allows to drink well upon release, so there is no need for aging this one. This Pinot Noir was aged for 10 months in French oak barrels, but 96% of the barrels used were neutral oak and only 4% of the barrels new. The Sea Slopes is unfined and infiltered, which means that all the flavor in the barrel made its way into the bottle (you also may get bits of grape residue in your glass on occasion). The alcohol content is 13.8%. This is a single vineyard Pinot Noir, so it is not inexpensive, the average price on the web is $34. But that is a nice price for a Pinot of this caliber.
The color is a clear ruby-red. The nose is a subtle mix of ripe cherries, a hint of oak and violets. This Pinot Noir has a bright, full mouth-feel and excellent balance. The red fruit flavors are juicy, yet subtle and mix well with herbs and an exotic spice. The mid-palate adds an astringent feel, along with a soft hit of raspberry. The acidity is right in the pocket and the tannins give structure and are well-balanced. This Pinot Noir has balance, length and a subtle mix for delicious flavors. At 13.8% alcohol, I thought the Sea Slopes would be a bold, California Pinot Noir, but it drinks like a Pinot from Burgundy.
At CheapWineFinder.com we usually write about value priced Pinot Noir. In the last few years value Pinot has gone from a light bodied, fruity Red wine with almost no relation to the more expensive Pinot, to enjoyable drinks that have a Beaujolais Gamay quality to them. But, there is nothing like a real deal Pinot Noir from a first-rate Pinot Noir house. The Fort Ross Sea Slopes Pinot Noir has balance, length and complexity that is positively addicting.