I’m going to start this post with stating the fact that this Pinot Noir is amazing. Now, I’m going to spend the rest of the time telling you why. After tasting a wine, I research who made it and where it comes from to figure out why I experienced what I did during my tasting. In doing so, the family behind Foursight Wines taught me a new word: monopole.
Bill and Nancy Charles, along with their daughter Kristy Charles and son-in-law Joe Web craft only 100% estate wines from their very own Charles Vineyard in Anderson Valley — a vineyard the small crew mans themselves on a daily basis. With just about 15 acres planted to vines, the Charles’ are extremely focused. And while they do produce a single-bottle Semillon and grow a bit of Sauv Blanc for blending, it’s clear that the main focus is Pinot Noir.
Let’s take a brief timeout to learn a little bit about the Anderson Valley AVA in California’s Mendocino County. The area is bordered on three sides by rolling hills and low-elevation mountains. The Navarro River, which flows north-west through the coastal range, opens the valley into the Pacifc Ocean via the Navarro canyon. At 315 square miles, the Navarro watershed is the largest coastal canyon in Mendocino County.
Coastal climate, water flow, and a valley floor that sits almost literally next to the Ocean means that Anderson Valley is considered Region 1 growing area – the coolest regional type where wine grapes can be commercially grown. It also means the valley experiences a large diurnal range — the daily highs and lows can be up to a 50 degree difference. And while winters can be quite chilly — as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit — the summers can reach as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.
And how does this affect our beloved Pinot Noir? Long, cool growing season and optimal harvest time for the delicate-skinned “headache grape.”
About the Wine: The Foursight Wines 2014 Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes harvested, as mentioned, from the family’s estate vineyard. It’s a combination of all the blocks, which include Pommard, 777, 115, and 114 clones. (Note: They do, on occasion, bottle release single-clone Pinot Noir for limited release — review to-come.)
In keeping with their Old World influence and sustainable vineyard practices, the grapes were fermented with wild yeast and wild malolactic cultures with 50% whole cluster grape inclusion. All punchdowns were done by hand, the wine pressed in basket, and bottled unfiltered and unfined.
Flavor Profile: From the bottle, the Foursight Wines Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir immediately emits an aroma of roundness — round purple and red fruits, the softness of oak, and an utter sense of calmness. The wine is the softest petal pink-red on the pour, capturing the light, and showing just the slightest coating of dust. Settled in the glass, it’s absolutely red, but just as soft and delicate, with no hint of any other colors, fading, or darkening anywhere. There is still, however, that gentle dust-like coating, that continues to give the wine a sense of calm — even just in its visual.
Initial aromas are of bright red strawberries — full stop. There’s a certain kind of floral-herb aroma as well. Swirl and release some of that acid, some dried eucalyptus leaf and bark. Move the nose to the top of the glass to find where the floral meets the acid for a scent reminiscent of perfume.
On the palate this Pinot Noir is simultaneously pow with fresh fruit and it’s acidity but equally smooth in texture. Tannins are near negligible, as it’s all about the brightness of those fresh strawberries and cranberries. Let the wine linger to find that woodsy aroma — this time it’s of fresh wood, that eucalyptus tree is now more alive and vibrant with a crunch of greenery and a lick of tree bark.
The tannins do come in, but at the very end, almost as an after thought, but does add a sense of closure to the tasting. However, the finish itself is lingering, circling back to that initial impression of round fruits, soft oak. It’s a full circle, you’re back again, for another sip.
Food Pairing: This is a young, vibrant wine and that is how it’s meant to be enjoyed. With all its simultaneously refreshing and calming qualities, this is a red wine you can sip in the heat of summer. So fire up the barbecue or the outdoor pizza oven and sit back and relax. Yes, this wine can stand up to a backyard burger just as well as a summer salad.
More Info: I received the Foursight Wines 2014 Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir as a sample for review. (Cheers Charles Family!) Retail: $48 For more information about Foursight and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Foursight Wines website.
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