Emeritus is a new winery for me, but has a 10-year Sonoma-based history. Emeritus was founded in 1999 by Brice Curtrer Jones after he purchased the 115-acre parcel named for previous owners, Don and Marcia Hallberg. The land was planted as an apple orchard, but Curtrer knew the value of the land in terms of grapegrowing and saw the potential for beautiful Pinot Noir.
Hallberg Ranch is located in the cool, Green Valley region of the Russian River Valley—an AVA that, in my opinion is an up-and-coming one, and one that is producing some of Sonoma’s most interesting Pinot Noir as of late.
About the Wine: The Emeritus Vineyards 2015 Hallberg Ranch Pinot Noir is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes harvested from the Emeritus estate Hallberg Ranch vineyard in Sonoma’s Green Valley sub-AVA. The wine aged in 100% French oak barrels (25% new) for 10 months.
Flavor Profile: The aroma from the Emeritus Vineyards 2015 Hallberg Ranch Pinot Noir is quite closed off, simply reminiscent of a damp, dark wine cellar. Once poured, the wine has an almost gothic, rusty-purple hue. In the gass it has a faded, rouge-maroon center, fading out to an almost orange-ish tint. Note, despite this dark attitude, the Pinot Noir is visibly penetrable, even at its core.
Once in the glass this Pinot Noir is immediately aromatic and opens up beautifully to light red fruits like red cherry, pomegranate, cranberry. Yet there’s still that under-lying darkness: earthy spices, deep-rooted floras. Swirl and enhance those fruit flavors and add a bit of black pepper spice, a cinnamon-like warmth. The acidity becomes fully alive, the florals, perfume-like. Pull away and find the dustiness of dry earth.
The palate of the Emeritus Vineyards 2015 Hallberg Ranch Pinot Noir is light, with a strong dose of acid. A firm grip of tannins takes hold about ¾ of the way through the tasting, leading toward a spice-filled finish that lingers and lingers and lingers, until just a light dryness calmly, quietly, oh so sneakily, coats the tongue.
Dominant flavors are of cherry, pomegranate, red plum, a hint of anise, nutmeg, dusty earthiness, and just an essence of oak wood and a cinnamon-like warmth on the finish.
Food Pairing: I paired the Emeritus Vineyards 2015 Hallberg Ranch Pinot Noir with a seared filet mignon served with an herb salad tossed with blueberries and bleu cheese. Loved this pairing: the fruits amplified the fruit flavors; the steak uplifted the earthiness. Through the course of the evening the tannins in the wine evolved to a more plushy texture, all the more enhanced by the creaminess of the cheese.
More Info: I received the Emeritus Vineyards 2015 Hallberg Ranch Pinot Noir as a sample for review. (Cheers Miriam!) Price: $44. For more information about Emeritus, their wines, and to purchase wine directly, please visit the Emeritus Vineyards website.
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**Please note: all reviews and opinions are my own and are not associated with any of my places of business. I will always state when a wine has been sent as a sample for review. Sending samples for review on my personal website in no way guarantees coverage in any other media outlet I may be currently associated with.**