The nose is a treat in itself, aromas of fresh-ground medium-roast coffee and black cherries, tinted around the edges with fresh sage. The same coffee-cherry theme shows on the attack, the initial taste, adding hints of cola, milk chocolate and licorice on the mid-palate. Tannins are mild and silky, with acids to match. A difficult food match, with rich flavors but medium body, this will pair best with a meat to match. Try it with grilled swordfish or smoked trout. Recommended. DH
The headwaters of the Russian River are in Redwood Valley, and here the grandsons of Bobby Fetzer are making a Pinot Noir that would make you think, tasting blind, that it came from downriver into the Russian River Valley. The nose has plenty of soft cherry and strawberry, a bit of vanilla, and a touch of sea salt. On the palate comes loads of red fruit, strawberry, black cherry, and some cranberry, tempered by a touch of sage and a sprinkle of sea salt, with underlying wood-effect vanilla. It's a mouthful, a big California Pinot, so look for food that matches. Drink with duck, but make sure you're going with the dark meat. Recommended.