Riverbench Vineyard & Winery Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley 2006
The WineThis wine's rich and heady aromas can be reticent at first, so I recommend decanting this wine for an hour or so before pouring. If you dont have a decanter, just pour into glasses and don't touch them for an hour. This works just as effectively, so long as you have more willpower than I do.Once the aromas begin to emerge, look for red fruit and vanilla that lead into flavors of strawberries and red bramble berries. The flavors and texture coat the palate and lead into a long finish. Its a big pinot, with high alcohol balanced by good fruit and body.Alcohol: 15.48%T.A.: .631 g/100 mLpH: 3.84The HistoryThis wine was crafted by Chuck Ortman, a veteran winemaker whose career began in Napa in 1968. That was the year that saw Nixon win his first term, the country tearing itself apart over Vietnam, and respect for California wines was still 8 years away. It was also the year Chuck earned his stripes as a cellar rat for Heitz Cellars. His career quickly progressed, and he began consulting for the likes of Far Niente, Shafer and Cain by the mid-70s. Such a career would satisfy many a winemaker, but not for Chuck. He moved out of Napa and became an early believer in the potential of Californias Central Coast. He eventually established one of the Central Coasts most iconic brands Meridian Vineyard of Paso Robles which provided him with access to all the areas best vineyards, including RiverBench, then sold it to return to his roots consulting for premium boutique wineries. Such as this one.Chuck bought grapes from Riverbench while at Meridian, and though they still sell most of their grapes today, they set aside the best lots for their estate wines. The RiverBench vines qualify as old vines by any measure dating back to 1973 and are well past their prime for grape yields. But thats good news for you and me it means theyre now in their prime years for grape quality. As youll see once you pop the cork on this wine.Cheers!Dave the Wine Merchant
Riverbench Vineyard was established in 1973, when its first Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes were planted on the property. For years since then, some of the most renowned wineries in Santa Barbara County have purchased our fruit for their own wines. Over time Riverbench has become a prominent name for high quality Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the Santa Maria Valley.
The first thing I noticed was the overpowering smell of fresh cut strawberries when I poured the wine into the decanter. Terrific. This wine benefits from a long decant. At least one hour. Very Burgundian in its approach without the greenness. Basically it has all my favorite traits of pinot, including gorgeous soft tannins. Paired perfectly with rotisserie honey chicken and pierogies. This is chicken wine.