Burgundian-Style, California Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is quite literally on the tips of everyone’s tongues these days—both as people enjoy the wine and as people continue to talk about it. It’s an interesting varietal that can be interpreted in many ways—depending on vineyard practices and winemaking techniques—and as wine lovers learn more and challenge themselves to expand their palates, varying styles of Pinot Noir are being sought after by just about everyone. One thing is for certain: the demand for high quality Pinot Noir is on the rise—and winemakers are responding in kind.Case in point–Reuling Vineyard, located on a 16-acre property just outside of Forestville in Sonoma County, has splashed onto the Pinot Noir scene with their Burgundian-style expressions. The boutique-size, family-owned winery focuses production strictly on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and many of the clones they work with are Burgundian—making their wines taste delightfully similar to wines from Burgundy. In fact, of much of the Sonoma County Pinot Noir I have tasted, ReulingVineyard’s newly-released 2013 Pinot Noirs tastes more like French Red Burgundy than just about anything else on the local market.
The Pinot Noir Clonal Collection
Ever since the family purchased their property in 1998, and planted their vines in 2000, they have been caring for the vineyards in a sustainable and biodynamic environment. In 2010 they produced their first vintage, and this year, they just released their third vintage with the new releases. With the immense quality of the 2013 vintage, Winemaker Matt Taylor decided to do something different with the wines. For the first time ever, Reuling Vineyard released their Pinot Noir Clonal Collection—a unique selection of wines that showcase the individual characteristics of three distinct clones, as well as one blend that brings together each of the clones.The family “focused on wanting to make the wine in a Burgundian style with clones that would match that interest,” Marika Reuling states. Hence why two illustrious “suitcase” Vosne-Romanée clones were chosen, as well as the renowned Calera clone. (It’s worth noting that they also work with an exquisite Montrachet Chardonnay clone.) To say that the family has chosen their clones wisely is an understatement; they have clearly honored their Burgundian-style winemaking passion by choosing to work with these particular clones.
The 2013 Vintage
2013 birthed incredible fruit and in Taylor’s eyes, possessed the perfect quality to showcase and introduce their Pinot Noir Clonal Collection. Taylor truly “felt that each individual clone was really singing, and doing something special during that harvest,” Reuling says. “It’s been fascinating to see watch Taylor do something different with these grapes.”Something different, indeed. Taylor has produced California Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast appellation that really does taste like Burgundy, and in that regard, he has also carved out a unique space where locals can experience a different style of Sonoma Cost Pinot Noir. In these wines, their uniqueness shines brightly and Taylor transcends the bounds of expectations. Clearly drawing on a Burgundian style of winemaking, the wines showcase their terroir and natural characteristics; the inclusion of whole cluster fermentation with native yeast, as well as a small percentage of new oak used for aging, contributes to their Burgundian style and distinct qualities. Simply put, Reuling Vineyard’s 2013 Pinot Noir Clonal Collection is a taste of French red Burgundy from California’s Sonoma Coast. I have no doubt that Pinot Noir lovers will be jumping on the Clonal Collection in no time to store bottles away in their cellars.