91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Vivid ruby-red. Pungent aromas of cherry pit, vanilla and beetroot are civilized by a suave floral nuance. Juicy and nervy on the palate, offering zesty redcurrant and bitter cherry flavors that gain sweetness with air. Closes tangy and long, with gentle tannins coming on late. "A grower's dream" is how Don Hartford described the 2012 vintage, "but a winery's nightmare if they weren't ready for the huge crop. If one didn't keep track of how much fruit they were going to get then they didn't have the manpower to process it or enough tanks to hold it," which meant that there was a hugely active market for the selling of excess, high-quality grapes "but not enough wineries equipped to take it." As for his own winery's take on the vintage, he described it as "a great crop, great fruit, beautiful wines," which is a familiar refrain by now. Hartford especially likes the balance of fruit to tannins because it makes the wines "drinkable now for those who want that. But they aren't fragile, so they should age nicely too." (5/2014)
VINEYARD CHARACTER: Intensive farming and low yields are the foundations of our Carneros offering. The vineyard is on a ridge at 200 foot elevation, part of an uplied riverbed which allows good drainage in the traditional clay based soils of the region. The name Sevens Bench is derived from the two clones planted on our block: Clones 37 (Mount Eden) and Dijon 777. This vintage is the first release since 2009.
TASTING NOTES: True to its Carneros roots, the 2012 Sevens Bench Pinot Noir carries the hallmark of the region – fruit intensity balanced by an earthy and savory side. The aromas open with black cherry and cherry pit, and lead into subtle mushroom and spice characters. The flavors are reminiscent of black cherry and Asian spice driven by a small amount of whole-cluster fermentation. The wine finishes with a juiciness and focus, with hints of cocoa and elegant tannins in the finish.
TECHNICAL INFORMATION: Oak: 100% French oak, 25% new Time in oak: 17 months Alcohol: 15.0% TA: 5.7 g/L pH: 3.77 Yeast: Native Cases produced: 163 No fining or filtration
ACCLAIM: “Outstanding” 91 points, Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar