Text Size:-+
06.21.2004

2001 Stephen Ross Pinot Noir, Bien Nacido Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley, California

Continuing with my tastings in recent weeks of wines from the California Central Coast here is a great Pinot from the Edna valley under the Stephen Ross Label.

Stephen Ross is basically the efforts of one man: Stephen Ross Dooley, who decided to leave his long time employment as President and winemaker at Edna Valley Winery in 1994 and start his own label. In addition to his tenure at Edna Valley, Stephen has spent time winemaking in both South Africa and Australia before deciding on California's Central Coast as the place to put down his roots.

Stephen Ross was recently named Artisan Winery of the Year (2004) by Wine & Spirits Magazine, which also had great praise for his Bien Nacido Pinot:

"In a roomful of Central Coast winemakers, Stephen Ross Dooley would be the wallflower ­ quiet, unprepossessing, soft-spoken. You'd probably tend to gravitate to one of the more voluble guys in the room like Au Bon Climat's Jim Clendenen. Both of these guys, however, made a Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir in 2001, and of the two, it was Dooley's wine that took top score this year. It's the sort of wine that lulls you with its beauty, a seamless, gentle evocation of sea air and crushed red berries, all with a concentration that has it opening for hours."
I don't know much about gentle evocations of sea air, but the stuff is good, and it does continue to open up and evolve in the glass for quite a while.

Stephen has this to say about the Bien Nacido winemaking:

Bien Nacido Vineyard excels as a place to grow Pinot Noir due to its cool climate and well drained, clay loam soils. This wine comes from 14 rows in Block G. The wine was fermented in small tanks, punch down by hand, aged in French oak barrels for 12 months, and bottled unfined and unfiltered. 596 cases produced.

Bien Nacido Vineyard is, of course, one of the most famous vineyards for Pinot Noir in California. Along with Gary Pisoni's vineyard, a number of the top Pinot producers in the country source their fruit from Bien Nacido, including the aforementioned Au Bon Climat, Ojai, and Sanford.

Stephen Ross also produces several other Pinot Noirs, as well as Chardonnay, Petite Syrah, and Zinfandel.

Tasting Notes:
In the glass this wine is perfect ruby in color and possesses a nose of deep complexity with aromas like cardamom, dried herbs, caramel, tart plums and raspberries. On the palate the wine is smooth and silky with the flavors of dried herbs carried over into the body of the wine and surrounded by restrained red fruit flavors of currant and raspberries. The finish is long and elegant with elements of tea and a hint of figs. Overall this is an incredibly balanced Pinot that will appeal to those who don't want their Pinots too extracted along with those who want some fruit along with their herbal earthy Pinot-ness.

Food Pairing:
An excellent food wine this can be paired with anything you'd normally serve a Pinot with. Try it with

Overall Score: 9/9.5

How Much?: $33

I get mine through Porthos.

Comments (0)

Comment on this entry

(will not be published)
(optional -- Google will not follow)
Yes
 

Type the characters you see in the picture above.

Pre-Order My Book!

small_covershot_dropshadow.jpg A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.

Follow Me On:

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Instagram Delectable Flipboard

Most Recent Entries

Taste Washington Day One in Brief Vinography Images: Trailing Vine Checking On Some Older CA Pinot Noir Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vinography Images: Tuscan Garden IPOB - The Tasting That Became a Movement Does Vine Age Matter? Vinography Images: The Future Vineyard A Little Vinography Housekeeping 2014 Rhone Rangers Tasting: April 6, Richmond, CA

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 Királyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy

Archives by Month

 

Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.