2017 Floodgate Wine Company Pinot Noir Russian River Valley
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It is exceedingly rare that we try an American wine made with Italian varietals that tastes anything like the real thing. We’ve had Barberas that are over-ripe and somehow tannic; Dolcettos that are deeply colored and jammy; Nebbiolos that are overly astringent and taste like cherry juice. It's been, at times, a bit disappointing searching for them. as so many of the so-called Cal-Ital wines have not quite measured up. Thanks to Idlewild, that is, until now. With this producer, we’ve found a red wine based on Piemontese varietals that actually reminds us our extensive time spent in the Langhe.
The Bird, which was #37 in the Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Wines of 2018, is a blend of 60% Dolcetto, 35% Barbera and 5% Nebbiolo. Coming from the Fox Hill vineyard in Mendocino, this cool climate site is planted with a stunning array of Italian varietals; aside from the aforementioned, Cortese, Arneis and southern Italy’s white gem, Fiano are all planted there. It's high unusual to find all of these in one site, but it works very well and is suited perfectly to Idlewild's modus operandi of working exclusively with Italian varietals, taking particularly special care to ensure the flavors are that of the Old World.
Their 2017 is supremely aromatic with notes of black cherry, strawberry, roses, orange peel, white pepper, bay laurel and dried sage. Most of this is so perfectly reminiscent of Piemonte, while the herbal qualities are Nor-Cal in nature. On the palate, moderate levels of gripping tannins are balanced by juicy acidity. This is all met with more of those cherry, strawberry, orange and plum notes. This is a great red blend that has really opened our eyes to the great things that are happening today in the world of Cal-Ital wines. We think you’ll feel the same, too.