Artesa Winery Ridgeline Carneros Pinot Noir 2011
By Mark Beringer
By Jonathan H. Newman*
Ridgeline 2011 Carneros Pinot Noir by Mark Beringer
UNIT SIZE: 750.00 ml
VARIETAL: Pinot Noir
GRAPE: Pinot Noir
COUNTRY: United States
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 14.20%
A brilliant garnet hue. This wine has impressive vibrant fruit with alluring aromatics of red cherry, strawberry, red plum and floral notes. Fruit forward and layered with intricate flavors of sweet cherries, wild strawberries, pomegranates, and plums with touches of a spice box, and white floral notes. Well balanced with round tannins, and a nice clean finish. Pair with veal and pork chops, barbequed salmon on a cedar plank, Chicken in a rosemary garlic sauce, tuna and corned beef. Drinking beautifully now and will provide many more years of enjoyment.
By Ridgeline Vineyards
2011 Carneros Pinot Noir
Varietal Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
Appellation: 100% Carneros
Harvest: September/October 2011
ALC: 14.20% by vol
TA: 5.1 g/l
Cooperage: 100% aged 7 months in French oak barrels (25% new)
Production: 1,500 cases
The 2011 Vintage
The 2011 vintage started off with a relatively dry winter. Early spring was wet and cold and it delayed bud break. The overcast weather was persistent throughout the spring and cool temperatures, rain, and even hail during the bloom caused low yields. The summer was also cool and the verasion did not occur until August. Harvest began almost 4 weeks later than average and a slow pace until the first week of October when the first rain changed the dynamics. The speed to bring in the fruit increased to mitigate the risk of botrytis and other molds. 2011 was by far a challenging vintage. Nevertheless, an intensive care from vineyards to winemaking enabled us to produce stunning wines with remarkable delicacy.
About the Vineyard
We sourced the majority of the grapes from Amaral Ranch in Carneros overlooking the San Francisco Bay. The Pinot Noir grown here enjoys the temperature gap between night and day during the growing season and nurtures great natural acidity. The soils are clay/loam series with some small rocks and shale mixture and a 5-9% of slope provides good drainage capacity. The remaining fruit came from the Henry Road Vineyard where clay loam soils and older vines yield grapes with sweet, bright flavors and supple tannins.
Hand harvesting the fruit over a two-month period as each block achieved ripeness; the grapes were de-stemmed, but not crushed, then given a five-day cold soak. This is a traditional method used to gently extract color and flavor from the delicate skinned Pinot Noir. After cold soaking, the grapes were allowed to warm up and fermentation was initiated with both selected and indigenous yeasts. Once dry, the grapes were gently pressed and the wine was put to French Oak barrels (25% new) for 7 months of aging.
This vintage draws on two distinct vineyard sources, which complement each other beautifully. Fermenting the wine in separate small lots allows the winemaker to create a complex and multi-faceted wine. There are aromas of layered fruit: red cherry, strawberry, and blueberry and a nice caramelized sugar and crème brule notes (like a fruit filled pastry). The flavors are of bing cherry and cassis with a hint of red fruit. This wine offers a layered structure and an elegant, well-integrated finish that captures the essence of the vintage.
Winemaker Mark Beringer
Artesa Winery Vice President of Production and Winemaking
A fifth generation winemaker from Napa Valley, award-winning winemaker, Mark Beringer, is proud to continue a family tradition of making high quality wines in California's premier AVA's. As the great, great grandson of Beringer Winery co-founder, Jacob Beringer, Mark has always aspired to make his contribution to California winemaking. He grew up immersed in the wine industry and knew from a very young age that winemaking was his calling. In 1992, Mark was recruited by Dan Duckhorn to join the Duckhorn winery team as an enologist and to provide support to Tom Rinaldi. Mark welcomed the opportunity to return to the type of artisanal winemaking he was so passionate about. When Duckhorn Wine Company decided to expand its portfolio beyond the Bordeaux varieties in 1994, Mark was chosen to head up the project to launch Paraduxx, a unique blend of Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, followed by Goldeneye, the winery's Burgundy style wines from Anderson Valley. In 1996, Mark was promoted to Vice President of Production and took on the tasks of managing a multi-brand, multi-facility company. In 1998, Mark was named Winemaker and in 2000, was promoted to Director of Winemaking. In 2005, The San Francisco Chronicle named Mark Winemaker of the Year for his work at Duckhorn Vineyards. During Mark's tenure at Duckhorn Wine Company he garnered two Winery of the Year titles from Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine, was named four times Regional Winery of the Year by Wine & Spirits Magazine and won the #6 rated wine of the year in the Wine Spectator's Top 100 of 2002 with the Duckhorn Vineyards 1999 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2008, Mark founded Mark Beringer Consulting, working on a variety of projects within the wine industry before joining Artesa Vineyards and Winery as Vice President of Production and Winemaking in February 2009.
*Jonathan Newman was Wine Enthusiasts’ Man of the Year. He also was Chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, and received national recognition in Marvin Shanken’s Market Watch Magazine and many other international wine publications. He was also awarded the Guild of Sommeliers highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. Mr. Newman's reviews have been published and quoted extensively online and in print. He travels extensively to many of the major wine growing regions and evaluates many of the wines we source from smaller and boutique wineries. We interact closely with him and the result is his rejection rate of over 96% of the wines evaluated.